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Arcane Mage DPS Guide

The Arcane Mage for PvEUpdated for Warlords of Draenor 6.2

Warlords of Draenor is here and there have been a few changes, though not like the last two expansions. Some abilities have been trimmed or moves to one or another spec (for example, you no longer have Shatter, but Presence of Mind is exclusively yours.) Alter Time & Mirror image are now talents. And, of course, ten more levels and a new talent row.

You can see our Mage Changes in Warlords post for more details.

This Arcane Mage guide is primarily intended for Raid DPS use (and other PvE content) at max level. However, the principals will still apply during the leveling process. If you’re looking for more advice on leveling your Mage, check out our Mage Leveling Guide.

Arcane Contents

  1. Arcane Talents
  2. Stats
  3. Rotations
  4. Gems
  5. Enchants
  6. Gearing up
  7. Consumables
  8. Professions
  9. Races
  10. Arcane Videos
  11. Leveling Quickly

If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to the level cap as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.

Click Here to Blast to the level cap!


Other Mage Guides: 


Arcane Mage Talents

Talents can be easily changed to suit particular fights or situations. Keep a stack of Tome of the Clear Mind handy and swap them as necessary. Ditto with glyphs. Note that many of the talents are quite good for general use, so don’t hesitate to experiment.

Descriptions are below the image and our talent picks are checked Best talent. (If you’re still leveling then go here to level faster.)

Arcane Mage PvE talents for Warlords of Draenor

Tier 1, level 15

  1. Evanesce – Avoid all attacks for three seconds and replaces your Ice Block. If you need a “save me, now” ability more often than Ice Block then this is your pick. It does not wipe existing effects, just avoids new ones.
  2. Blazing Speed is a nice little speed boost, which can be handy to getting to, or out of, stuff. You still have blink, of course, and can use B. Speed when Blink’s on cooldown.
  3. Best talent Ice Floes Gives you a chance to cast (Evocation, for example) while moving and has three charges. Depending on the fight that could be very useful, especially since you have more “cast time” spells than the other mages.

Tier 2, level 30

None of these add to DPS, other than allowing you to live long enough to continue dealing your damage.

  1. Alter Time, when timed right this can avoid large quantities of damage. Note that it doesn’t help if that damage kills you. It can also reposition you if you have to move away for a few seconds. Alter Time will then pop you back. It does not restore mana, procs, buffs, or anything other than your health.
  2. Best talent Flameglow constantly mitigates some damage. It’s a great choice for fights where you anticipate taking constant, relatively minor,  damage. It won’t make you a tank, but it will make the healer’s (and your) lives a bit easier. In those situations of fairly constant damage it can stop more damage than Ice Barrier.
  3. Ice Barrier doesn’t absorb a ton, but it can save your but in the right situation and you don’t have to time it as well as Alter Time.

Tier 3, level 45

Which one of these you pick depends on the situation. None add to your DPS and all are only useful against trash.

  1. Best talent Ring of Frost is an AoE CC for any encounter in which you might need it, such as a patrol. Keep in mind that it takes a couple of seconds to do it’s thing, even with Presence of Mind.
  2. Ice Ward might be difficult to find a good use for, but has decent creative potential. For example, if you’re helping someone to kite a mob or mobs. It still casts Frost Nova, even if you take Supernova from tier 5.
  3. Frostjaw is a single target root and silence, which is always useful against caster adds. For groups, Ring of Frost will be superior.

Tier 4, level 60

Time to (not) Die!

  1. Best talent Greater Invisibility is a decent survivability option and, depending on the encounter, can compete with Cauterize,  Useful if you tend to, somehow, gain aggro or get dotted up. It’s a DPS loss, since you con’t be casting while it’s in effect.
  2. Cauterize is beautiful by virtue of its simplicity. Instead of dying, you don’t, which is perfect for those You Will Die Now moments. You will burn, but it gives your healer a chance to get to you and your Ice Block cancels the burn. It doesn’t effect your DPS if your healers can get to you, it does if you have to Ice Block it off.
  3. Cold Snap resets your Presence of Mind, along with Ice Block and Frost Nova, and provides a small heal. If you don’t need the defensive abilities of the other two then this is a solid choice.

Tier 5, level 75

  1. Nether Tempest takes a “snapshot” of your current charges and bases its damage from there, both to the primary target and to all other targets within 10 yards. If you reapply it within the last 3.6 seconds you add that remaining time to your new application. Can only be used on one target at a time. When fighting groups or waves take a look at Supernova instead.
  2. Unstable Magic is the easiest to use of these three, doing good single target damage and decent A of E damage. You don’t have to change anything about your rotation, just blast away.
  3. Best talent Supernova replaces your Frost Nova. It deals 400% damage to the main target and a pulse that does 200% to all targets within 8 yards, in addition to knocking them upwards. Two charges on a 25 second cooldown. Nice choice for waves of adds and very nice for single target.

Tier 6, level 90

Mirror is nice for short fights or where a burst phase is required. Otherwise, if you can stay in one place take Rune. If you have to move around too much for that, take Incanter’s flow.

  1. Mirror Images creates three images which blast away for decent damage. They all of your stats except Mastery, which is the one you really want them to have. Nice for a 25 second burst every couple minutes.
  2. Best talent Rune of Power is the simplest to use of this tier, seeing as all you have to do is stand in it to get that 15% damage increase and blast away. Best used on fights with little or no movement or where you can place yourself such that you don’t need to move.  Place the rune(s) and blast away. If you have to move away for a brief time than your Alter Time can pop you back to your Rune.
  3. Incanter’s Flow can work well with Supernova and your Mastery if you can cast it at peak flow and peak mana. Otherwise it’s an average of about a 12% boost which doesn’t require you to stay in one place.

Tier 7, level 100

Use the Crystal for single target fights when the mob stays still. Use Overpowered for when he’s running around a lot. For multiple opponents and If you took Nether Temptest, from the tier 5 talents, then Arcane Orb is the most efficient pick.

  1. Overpowered: Casting your Arcane Missiles extends your Arcane Power by 2 seconds. Nice choice for both single target and group damage and boosts the value of Unstable Magic (through your Arcane Power.)
  2. Best talent Prismatic Crystal: Puts a crystal at the targeted location. Only you can attack it and it takes 130% damage from your attacks. Any time it takes damage it instantly releases that damage, splitting it evenly among all enemies within 8 yards. The downside is the possibility of your tank, or some other mechanic, moving the target(s) away from your crystal.
  3. Arcane Orb: Your Arcane Orb travels up to 40 yards doing damage to everything it passes through and it generates an Arcane Charge every time it does damage. Nice way to build charges without casting Arcane Blast.



Arcane Stat Priorities

Warlords note: Your Hit, Expertise, and Reforging are all gone. You have two new stats, Versatility and Mastery, both of which have some (not a lot of) value.

  1. Stat Priority: Intellect > Mastery > Haste > Multistrike > Critical > Versatility
  2. Gear: Int plus Mastery & Haste.

Int is your “go to” stat and is more important than any secondary stat. It is your Spellpower, so improves any damage that you do.

Mastery rewards you for keeping your mana high. So stack this stat way up and keep your mana as high as possible though evocation, potions, good management, etc.

Haste speeds up everything you do, including burning mana. Spells cast faster and DoTs tick faster. Lots of Haste is a good thing, but you will have to watch your mana a bit more closely. Certain items will summon minions to fight for you and this improves the value of your Haste as those minions are affected by it. Mastery will remain better until very high gear levels.

Multistrike gives you a chance for one or two additional strikes at 30% effect. While it’s a straight up DPS add it’s not as valuable as Mastery and Haste. See here for how Multistrike works.

Crit – it’s not that Crit is bad or useless, it’s that the other stars are better.

Versatility adds directly to your damage and (at half value) to your damage reduction. Nice stat, but not enough to compete with the rest.


In-Depth Rotation Guide for the Arcane Mage

Keep your mana as high as you can at all times to take advantage of your Mastery. Potions can help keep it up.

Buffs: Mage Armor and Arcane Brilliance should be active at all times.

Arcane Blast is your primary damaging ability and used to build stacks of Arcane Charge.

Arcane Charge is a stacking buff that increases the damage of a number of your abilities as well as the mana cost of some of them. Managing this buff allows you to maximize your damage while at the same time not allowing your mana to drop too low so that we can also continue to benefit from our mastery. Arcane Charge lasts for 10 seconds and stacks up to a maximum of 4 times, each stack providing the following effect:

  • Arcane Blast – Damage increased by 50% per charge and mana cost by 100% per charge and it generates a charge.
  • Arcane Missiles – Damage increased by 50% per charge and it generates a charge.
  • Arcane Explosion refreshes your charges and has a chance to generate one charge if at least one target is hit.
  • Arcane Barrage comsumes all charges – Damage increased by 50% per charge and strikes an additional target, per charge, for 50% damage.
  • Evocation consumes all charges and its mana regen is increased by 25% per charge used.

What to do

Your level 90 talent is to be used as available.

Multiple Target Rotation/AoE:

  1. Nether Tempest is ideal for facing small groups of 2-4 enemies in which case you should aim to refresh the effect with around 3 seconds remaining.
  2. Cast Arcane Barrage when your Arcane Charge stack is equal to one less than the total number of enemies as each charge causes Arcane Barrage to hit one additional target for 50% of normal damage.

Tier 1 Talented Abilities:

  1. Use Ice Floes (if you took it) whenever movement is demanded to continue casting Arcane Blast or Arcane Missiles.
  2. Use Blazing Speed (if you have that instead) to position yourself as necessary to continue blasting away.

Tier 5 Talented Abilities:

  1. Nether Tempest should be refreshed on the target at around 3 seconds remaining. That remaining time is added to the new spell’s duration.
  2. Supernova is very nice for blasting groups and when combined with Prismatic Crystal (level 100 talent) it’s probably overpowered (expect a nerf.)


You have three cooldowns of interest for DPSing:

  1. Presence of Mind gives you an instant cast of Arcane Blast every 90 seconds. It’s a minor DPS gain.
  2. Arcane Power is your major DPS cooldown. Use on cooldown, unless you need to save it for a particular phase of the fight. Note that the Improved Arcane Power perk reduces the cost of your spells, instead of increasing them. The glyph of Arcane Power doubles the bonus and the cooldown time.
  3.  Time Warp is a very powerful raid cooldown. It should be used when your raid leader tells you to use it, as you can only receive its buff once every 10 minutes. This cooldown is shared with Heroism/Bloodlust.

More on the Arcane Mage “Rotation”

The following section was taken from Berlinia’s Arcane Mage Guide on MMO-Champion.


The Arcane Mage constantly rotates around two phases, the Conserve Phase and the Burn Phase. The Conserve Phase is what you will be doing most of the time, and is a playstyle that you employ when you want to remain on high mana levels. The Burn Phase on the other hand is the practice of using the 400% increase to Arcane Blast’s mana cost at 4 Arcane Charges to your advantage, in order to burn through your mana as fast as possible.

This phase might seem contradictory to what I just wrote about benefiting from Mastery, but is done because Arcane Blast does a very high amount of damage during this phase. In order to start your Burn Phase you need to keep an eye to your Evocation cooldown, because when you finish burning your mana you want to get it right back up and continue with the Conserve Phase. The Arcane playstyle is a constant rotation between Burn and Conserve cycles.

Conserve Phase

There is no set rotation for Arcane Mages, just a priority list. This is the priority list for the Mana Conservation Phase which is the phase you will mostly be executing.

  1. Cast Arcane Missiles when you have 3 stacks of Arcane Missiles!.
  2. Cast Arcane Blast when you have more than 93% Mana at the start of your cast, and you have 4 stacks of Arcane Charge.
  3. Cast Arcane Missiles when you are at 4 stacks of Arcane Charge
  4. Cast Arcane Barrage at 4 stacks of Arcane Charge
  5. Cast Arcane Blast

This is the basis of the Conserve Phase. Essentially what you do at this phase is that you:

  1. Build Arcane Charge stacks with Arcane Blast or Arcane Missiles to prevent capping,
  2. Use your Arcane Missiles at 4 stacks of Arcane Charge, except if over 93% Mana; then you cast Arcane Blast ,
  3. Use Arcane Barrage to reset your Arcane Charges.

Burn Phase

Just like with the Conserve Phase, the Burn phase does not follow a strict rotation but rather a priority list. This phase is heavily tied to the cooldown of your Evocation and can only be started when you are at 4 Arcane Charges.

  1. Cast Arcane Power.
  2. Cast Arcane Missiles.
  3. Cast Arcane Blast if you have more than 50% mana.
  4. Cast Evocation if you have less than 50% mana and 4 stacks of Arcane Charge.

This is the priority list tied to the Burn Phase. What this list essentially tells you is that you should cast Arcane Missiles as they proc, and then burn your mana until you have less than 50% mana. Due to the high mana costs of Arcane Blast at 4 stacks of Arcane Charges, you will need to know the mana costs of your spells of your spells so you know when to execute the third step of the priority list.

Burn/Conserve Cycles

Now that we have defined the two phases, you need to understand how and when to rotate around the two. The Conserve Phase is your rest phase, and is executed whenever your cooldowns are down. The Burn Phase is tied to the cooldown of Evocation which with the perk Improved Evocation has its cooldown reduced to 1.5 minutes. With this cooldown, you can tie every Burn Phase with an unglyphed Arcane Power or you can tie every second Burn Phase with a glyphed Arcane Power

Keeping in mind that before starting a Burn Phase you want to reach 4 stacks of Arcane Charges

End mmo-champ borrowing.


Gems for Arcane Mages

In short: Gem for Mastery

The 35 point gems are dirt cheap, the 50s expensive, and the 75s very expensive. If you have four gems slots (lucky you) you will only lose about 1% Mastery (going from 4x75s to 4x50s) and save maybe 20k gold. If you find yourself short of the cash needed to buy expensive gems then you should see this post.

In Warlords the older gems that used to Hit now add Crit, those that added Expertise now add Haste. Prismatic gems fit any socket and the the Warlords gems require item level 600+.

Older gems with secondary stats have twice the value of gems with primary stats, so your Pre-Draenor Mastery gems are 20 points and your Int gems are 10. Draenor gems match any socket (600+ gear)

Your Mage bonus adds to any Int gem bonuses, making them worth 5% more Int, that bonus does not add to other stats.

Socket Matching suggestions for pre-Draenor gear:

Gem Priorities for the Arcane Mage
Gems for pre-Draenor gear.
Meta Courageous Primal Diamond: +20 Intellect and chance on beneficial spell to make your spells cost no mana for 4 sec.
Ember Primal Diamond: +14 Intellect and +2% Maximum Mana
Red Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 10 Int
Yellow Quick Sun’s Radiance: +20 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: +20 Mastery
Blue Rigid River’s Heart: +20 Crit
Orange Reckless Vermilion Onyx: 5 Int, 10 Haste
Artful Vermilion Onyx: +5 Int & +10 Mastery
Green Sensei’s Wild Jade: +10 Crit and +10 Mastery
Purple Veiled Imperial Amethyst: 5 Int and 10 Crit
Cogwheel requires an engie helm, such as this.
Quick Tinker’s Gear: 38 Haste
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 38 Mastery


Arcane Enchantments

In short, use: Enchant Weapon – Mark of Bleeding Hollow – Sometimes increases Mastery by 500 for 12 seconds.

Short on gold? If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about fixing your poverty.

In Warlords the stats squish is in, but since everything is squished your enchants will still have nearly the same relative value. Also note that rings and neck items can now be enchanted. Note that the Mists enchants cannot be added to items higher than ilevel 600.

Various Caster Enchantments
Main & Off-Hand


Shoulders Greater Crane Wing Inscription: +15 Int and 5 Crit


Chest Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +9 to all Stats
Bracers Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect: +15 Int
Enchant Bracer – Mastery: +25 Mastery
Gloves Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: +25 Mastery
Belt Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Gem slot for a nice Int gem
Leggings Greater Cerulean Spellthread: +19 Int and +11 Crit
Boots Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +10 Mastery, slight run speed increase.


Gearing up your Arcane Mage




Consumables for the Arcane Mage

Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff. All food buffs last one hour. None fo the Draenor foods add to primary stats (eg: Int.)


Elixirs: In Warlords there are no elixirs that give stats.


Potions: If you pop one immediately before combat you will be able to pop another during combat.


  • Oralius’ Whispering Crystal: +57 to all stats. This is better than the focus rune, below, and is not used up.
  • Focus Augment Rune: +50 Int for one hour. Occasionally drops from WoD bosses (in Raid Finder mode) and is also rarely found as mission rewards from your Garrison. Stacks with flasks and other buffs.


  • Runescroll of Fortitude III: 8% increased Stamina to your entire group.
  • Oralius’ Whispering Crystal: +57 to all stats.
  • Tents: (not usable in raids or arenas) These account bound items are available through your leatherworking hut, from the follower that you assigned to that hut. All the tents do the same thing, which is to add 10% to all stats for an hour. Very nice if you’re doing anything outside of the raid.




Professions for the Arcane Mage

In Warlords all of the profession perks are dead. No more extra Blacksmithing sockets, cloak enchant, etc. You might be best served by using your professions to build a larger gold stash.

Still, they’re not without some value, other than earning gold. See the notes below. The “best” profs? Probably tailoring for the gear and Engineering for the gadgets. For gold? Gathering is Ok. I’ve made a ton with Inscription and a fair amount with Blacksmithing. Others swear by Jewelcrafting. Tailoring and Enchanting can work very well, too.

Garrisons are pretty useful. Get a level 2+ profession building and a follower working in it and you’ll get better production and some other goodies. Note that you don’t actually have to have the profession to make a number of the Draenor items, such as most of your enchants.

Crafted gear works like this: You can make ilevel 640 armor (Tailoring) and 630 weapons (Inscription) and then the items to reroll the stats of the armor & weapons. (Reroll until you get that Mastery & Haste that you want.) You can also make the items to boost your armor and weapons by 75 item levels (in patch 6.2.) This is expensive, but it’s there if you want it.

Arcane Professions
Tailoring Make your own gear, including some nice entry level raid gear.
Leatherworking Nothing much here for Mages. Your follower will let you make tents that add 10% to all of your stats for an hour. While these cannot be used in raid they are account bound and work on any level character. So make a bunch and send them to all of your alts.
Jewelcrafting Make nice gems, ring and neck items, gemmed mounts, etc.
Enchanting Enchant rings and neck items and almost everything else. Your follower will let you make Illusionary Enchants, which will change the look of your other enchants.
Inscription Make glyphs, fortune cards, caster items for main and off hands, shoulder enchants, misc other things. Make caster weapons.
Alchemy Better living through chemistry and transmutation, but no explosives. Your follower will give you four useful potions every day.
Engineering has lots of interesting toys, including gliders, nitro boosts, and mounts. Don’t forget the rockets, shields, gliders, and stealth device. None of which can be used in raids, but can be used most everywhere else.
Blacksmithing Not much here for you, other than a couple of weapons. Your follower can provide you with two buffs: One lets you take no gear damage for 4 hours, the other occasionally summons up a molten elemental to help you out (though not in the raid.)
Skinning For the gold and to supply Leatherworking.
Herbalism For the gold and to supply Alchemy and Inscription.
Mining For the gold and to supply Blacksmithing.


Mage Races

Draenei Arcane Mage

The Tauren are the only race that cannot become mages. Even the Pandarens can be Mages.

In Warlords any racial ability that raised Hit or Expertise is now dead. A few races that had those abilities got replacement abilities. For DPS purposes they are now all very close.

The Best? Draenei get an Int boost and Pandarens get an increased bonus from food buffs. Gnomes and Goblins get a 1% Haste boost. Orcs and Trolls get a burst cooldown.

Pandarens (Mists of Pandaria) can be either Alliance or Horde, they choose when they leave their starting area.

  • They can put enemies to sleep (stun) with a touch of the paw, but you don’t want to be in melee range.
  • Increased benefits from food buffs will be quite nice while raiding.
  • Take less falling damage from being “bouncy.”

Alliance Races, in order of DPS gain:


  • A minor heal is always handy for a class that has no heals. Also usable on others. Especially nice while leveling, though a bit of “topping off” in your raids will be handy.
  • Draenei get a boost to their Int (and Str and Ag.) Since Int is your best stat this is rather nice.
  • Draenei are good gemcutters.



  • Gnomes have a useful Escape Artist skill. It’s more useful in PvP, but will still be handy at times. Unlike the Human escape, this one does not break roots.
  • Gnomes have an increased mana pool, which is certainly of interest to you in particular.
  • Engineering skill doesn’t help casting, but that skill can make some nice gadgets which will help. Just be aware of backfires.
  • +1% Haste


  • Good for PvP with their Escape ability. Also allows the use of two DPS trinkets. This ability will have occasional use in PvE and leveling, as well. Unlike the Gnbome escape, this one does break roots.
  • Diplomacy is nice if you are going to be gaining faction at any point and since so much past level 60 is a faction grind… Mists of Pandaria introduced even more factions.
  • The Human Spirit now adds to your Versatilty stat, which adds a bit to your offence.

Night Elves

  • Their Shadowmeld ability has its uses in instances and raids it will drop the aggro you picked up until you unmeld. Hopefully the tank has picked the mob(s) up by then.
  • Being a bit harder to hit is occasionally use while leveling or in PvP, but you will find little use for it in PvE.
  • Faster movement while dead is an interesting perk, it’ll let you get back to the raid that much faster if no one has rezzed you.)
  • 2% faster movement oveall
  • +1% Crit by day and +1% Haste by night.


  • The stone form ability is rather nice, washing away bleeds and reducing damage taken by 10%, and the latter part of that will find occasional PvE use.
  • +2% critical damage  bonus.
  • Dwarves are good with Archeology.

Horde Races, in order of DPS gain:


  • Berserking increases Haste for a few seconds. Very nice ability for any mage, drop it into a macro.
  • Beast Slaying is a nice little bonus for leveling as it adds 25% XP
  • Voodoo shuffle is a help in PvP, but very situational otherwise.


  • Blood Fury adds to spell power as well as attack power. Put it in a macro. This one ability might make Orcs the best DPS choice for Arcane mages.
  • No useful mage specific abilities, though the increased resistance to stun does have some general use.


  • Will of the Forsaken is a nice PvP ability, but much more situational outside of PvP. Still, there are times in the raid where it will be “just the thing.”
  • Cannibalize is useful every now and then, especially since you won’t have to carry food.
  • Touch of the Grave is a passive ability that drains life and heals. It will add a bit to your damage numbers as well as improve your longevity.
  • Indefinite Underwater Breathing might have some use, somewhere.


Blood Elves

  • An increase to Enchanting skill is of no direct use, but ‘chanters get some self-only ‘chants which are nice.
  • Arcane Torrent is of little use, since it doesn’t return much mana and the opponent has to be close to you for the silence to work and casters will rarely be that close (though DKs might be…) On the other hand, if you’re bouncing in to drop a Frost Nova on some caster trash then an AT might not be a bad thing to throw in along with it.
  • +1% crit rating.


Arcane Videos

A nice discussion on “How To Arcane.” Does not covers talents or gear very much, it’s mostly rotations.


The Fast Mage Leveling Guide

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