Arcane Mage Quick-Start Guide for WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, and ability priorities

It is That Time, the time when the Gods – or GMs, at least – mess with our minds – and our ability rotations. Yep, the latest patch for Mists of Pandaria is here, WoW Patch [patchnumber]. But don’t stress – if you want to get up and blasting away at Garrosh’s minions fast, this quick start guide will help you choose talents, get your reforging, gems and stat priorities right for this new world, pick the best glyphs, and figure out just what you should be casting when… Let’s get cracking!

Updated [guideupdated] to World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Arcane Mage Changes in WoW Patch [patchnumber]

Our glyphs and talents have changed somewhat.

Arcane “Rotation” and Priorities

The Arcane rotation has been much simplified. We don’t have two phases any longer. Instead, we just concentrate on keeping our Bomb used as often as possible while maintaining our mana just below 100%.

Single-target DPS

  • Top Priority: Cast Arcane Missiles if it’s available and you’re at four stacks of Arcane Charge.
  • Second Priority: Cast Arcane Barrage if you’re at four stacks of Arcane Charge.
  • Third Priority: If Living Bomb isn’t active on your target, cast Living Bomb. If not, cast Arcane Blast.

You’re trying to maintain your mana as close as possible to 100% without hitting 100%. If your mana is dipping, cast Arcane Barrage at less stacks of Arcane Charge. If it’s capping, cast at more stacks of Arcane Charge.

Very Important – Make sure you’re using your Rune of Power properly. Recast whenever it has 1 second left and make sure to stand in it at all times.


Up to 4 enemies, keep Living Bomb on all of them and use your regular rotation on one of them.

At 4 or more enemies:

  • Top Priority Keep Nether Tempest up on as many enemies as possible
  • Second Priority Use your single-target rotation on one enemy.


Your big cooldown is Arcane Power, which you should use as often as you can – use any damage-increasing trinkets and potions at the same time. Ideally use it at 4 stacks of Arcane Charge.

Whilst it’s up, use your regular rotation, but use Arcane Barrage at 3 stacks of Arcane Charge if you’re dipping below 85% mana.

Other CDs:

  • Use Alter Time during Arcane Power if possible – it’ll give you another 6 seconds of Arcane Power.
  • Use Mirror Images on cooldown, unless there’s about to be a pause in the fight.
  • Cast Time Warp when your raid leader tells you to, or in a dungeon on boss fights.
  • Use Invisibility as a threat dropping ability.


Use Mage Armor, cast Arcane Brilliance, and remember to create a Mana Gem.

Arcane Mage Talent Choices

Mage 5.x talent choices are particularly flexible, and we heartily encourage you to experiment with them. However, for a quick-start setup of talents that’s simple to use, we recommend:

  • Tier 1: Ice Floes – DPS ability used whilst moving.
  • Tier 2: Ice Barrier – a solid cooldown to reduce damage to you.
  • Tier 3: Frostjaw
  • Tier 4: Greater Invisibility: makes your Invisibility spell also a major damage reduction cooldown.
  • Tier 5: Living Bomb
  • Tier 6: Rune of Power.

If you’re in an almost continuous movement fight, choose Incanter’s Ward for Tier 6 instead, but Rune of Power is much better for movement fights in Patch [patchnumber] than it was before.

In Tier 5, all three abilities are nearly perfectly balanced. They also all alter your rotation. If you chose a different Bomb ability:

  • Living Bomb: Re-cast it whenever it explodes.
  • Nether Tempest: Refresh it before its last tick. (NOTE – this is more complex and so is our least favourite choice here.)

Stats, reforging and gemming for Arcane Mage

Stat priorities for Arcane Mages are pretty simple in [patchnumber]. Intellect is your most important stat, followed by Hit to the 15% Spell Hit Cap, then Mastery.

Reforging: Reforge to Hit until you hit 15% hit (5100 rating), then reforge to Mastery. Reforge from Hit above the cap, then Crit first.

Gems: Use Artful (Int/Mastery) gems in red sockets, Fractured (Mastery) gems in yellow sockets and Sensei’s (Mastery/Hit) gems in blue sockets.

Meta Gem: Burning meta gem of whatever type.

Note on Expertise: Expertise counts toward the Spell Hit Cap, so if you can’t reforge to Hit on an item, reforge to Expertise to hit the cap.

Arcane Mage Glyphs

5.0 Glyphs are very situational – you’ll probably end up using different ones for different fights – but here’s a good no-downside selection to start with:

Major: Glyph of Arcane Explosion, Glyph of Mana Gem, Glyph of Evocation

Minor: Glyph of Momentum, Glyph of Loose Mana, one other of your choice.

Arcane Mage enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Crane Wing Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Greater Cerulean Spellthread
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit
  • Off-Hand Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Major Intellect

If you want more details on your mana control or talent choices, here are a couple of solid links to check out:

  • Icy Veins started as a Mage guide, and their Arcane Mage guidance is top-notch.
  • Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.

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WoW Patch 4.3 Arcane Mage Quick Guide – Stats, talent spec, glyphs, reforging and gems, priorities and rotation

Fancy the feel of raw, crackling power surging through your fingers, into the various gribbly, draconic, or badly-spelled mobs, and ending up in a massive great bar at the top of the DPS meter? Yep, it’s Arcane time. So if you want to get your pwnage up to speed for Patch 4.3 and downing Deathwing, read on to get the best rotation, spec, gems, glyphs, enchants, stat weights, and everything else for this new, Deathwinged patch.

Updated Nov 29th for Patch 4.3

Arcane Mage changes in Patch 4.3

Absolutely nothing. Seriously. Not a thing.

Our set bonuses are interesting – very interesting, in fact. I can’t easily summarise the discussion so far here, and there aren’t any firm recommendations for how to change your play style to take advantage of them yet, so if you want to know more, I recommend WoW Insider’s Arcane Brilliance column on the subject

Arcane Rotation / Priorities

Like most DPS classes in Cataclysm, Arcane Mages don’t have a rotation. In fact, they have an extremely unique DPS system, based on the fact that one of their talents increases their DPS based on how much mana they currently have.

Hence, Arcane Mages alternate between two phases – a high-DPS “Burn Phase” where they’re burning mana, ended by an Evocation to bring mana back to 100%, and a lower-DPS “Preservation Phase” where they keep their mana as close as possible to 100% whilst waiting for the next Evocation cooldown.

Judgement Calls: Uniquely, Arcane Mage rotations are very dependent on personal gear, and it’s important to test a few things on a target dummy before you start using your rotation. Notably, you’ll need to know how long it takes you to reach 30% mana when spamming Arcane Blast (including using a mana gem), and you’ll need to know how many stacks of Arcane Blast you can build up before your mana starts to drop significantly. Test both these things on a dummy as soon as possible, because you’ll need to know them for your DPS system.

Burn Phase: Spam Arcane Blast until you’ve used 12k mana (the amount restored by a Mana Gem). Then use the mana gem, pop Mirror Image and Arcane Power, and spam Arcane Blast until your mana hits 30%. At this point, use Evocation to bring mana back to nearly 100% and enter Preservation Phase.

Preservation Phase: Use Arcane Blast until you’ve built up the number of stacks you know you can sustain, then use Arcane Missiles, or if that’s not available Arcane Barrage to drop those stacks, then repeat. You can also use Flame Orb to rapidly regenerate mana here. Keep going with this phase until the cooldown remaining on Evocation is equal to the amount of time it’ll take you to burn down to 30% mana. At that point, switch to the Burn Phase.

Tips: Timing your Burn Phase to coincide with high-damage fight phases is vital. For example, Alysrazor’s burn phase or Magmaw’s Exposed Head phase. Also, don’t Evocate when you’re going to take damage – you’ll lose ticks and mana. And remember to keep Mage Armor and Arcane Brilliance on yourself!

AOE: Build up 4 stacks of Arcane Blast, then use Arcane Explosion, refreshing the Arcane Blast stack with Arcane Blast when needed. If the mobs aren’t near enough to Arcane Explosion, alternate Blizzard and Flamestrike instead.


Arcane Talent Spec

Stats, reforging and gemming for Arcane

Intellect is the most important stat for Arcane followed by Hit, then Haste, then Mastery. Crit is your worst stat.

Reforging: Reforge to the Hit Cap (1,742). If you hit this, then reforge to Haste. Reforge from Crit (and Spirit if you have any) first.

Gems: Use a Brilliant Inferno Ruby unless the socket bonus provides 10 or more Intellect or 20 or more of another stat. In that case, use Veiled Demonseye for blue sockets and Reckless Ember Topaz for yellow sockets.

Arcane Mage enchants

Several professions can provide better enhancements than these – Inscription, Tailoring, Engineering all have potential buffs. Check the stat priorities above.

Head Arcanum of Hyjal
Shoulders   Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Back Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
Chest Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
Wrist Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
Hands Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery
Belt Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
Legs Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Feet Enchant Boots – Lavawalker
Weapon Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent
Off-Hand Weapon Enchant Weapon – Superior Intellect


Prime: Arcane Blast, Mage Armour, Arcane Missiles

Major: Arcane Power, Blink, Evocation.

Minor: Slow Fall – others are your preference.

You also might find the rest of MMO Melting Pot interesting – we look for the best articles about WoW and other MMOs and deliver them straight to you. Check out the latest articles .

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Tips On Levelling a Mage (part 2)

Welcome back to our tips on mage levelling! Hopefully after the last article you’ve been out there frying – or freezing – your character’s mortal enemies. But maybe you, like any good mage, need more knowledge. Let’s face it – knowledge means power, and power means an unstoppable mage levelling towards saving the world.

  1. Restore health and mana regularly. Sounds silly but it’s another “don’t get taken by surprise” moment. It’s inconvenient if you’re low on either health or mana and another player or monster starts fighting you.
  2. Low mana. If you’re out of mana and in combat, don’t panic. Consider using a mixture of utility spells like frost nova and sheep to keep monsters managed and not damaging you. While you’re doing this, use your wand to slowly damage them down (remember to place the ‘shoot’ button from your spellbook on your toolbars). Survival is your priority.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings. Can you stand on a hill and fire at an enemy below you, making them run all the way round to the path before they can get to you? Can you blink or slow fall off the hill when they’re halfway up it so they have to run all the way down again? Can you attack a caster monster then hide round a corner so he can’t see you and will follow you round the corner so you can kill him safely?
  4. Experiment. Pull too many monsters and you’ll probably die. But you don’t always need to kill one at a time either. Experiment with different numbers of monsters at once. Remember that some monsters may be higher level than you or have special abilities. Remember mages have tricks up their sleeve, like the ability to polymorph an extra monster so it can’t hurt you for a bit. Experiment with the abilities you get as you level your mage and find a pace you find comfortable to level.
  5. Get some addons. Getting some mage addons will make mage levelling smoother. I’d suggest …
  • Quartz, customizeable to make castbars easier to see (see point #4)
  • SheepMonitor, which has various ways of telling you when your sheep is no longer a sheep
  • Mage fever, for a little later in levels when you have some procs and cooldowns to keep an eye on.

_Did you find this useful? Maybe you’ll also find the first half of the mage levelling tips useful if you haven’t seen them already! If it’s whetted your appetite for mage-knowledge and you want further reading on mage levelling, just ask in the comments!


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Mage Levelling Tips (part 1)

So you’re levelling a mage but want some tips on the basics? No worries. We’ve got you covered in a two-part series taking you through ten tips on how to level mages in WoW. The second post even has a further reading section. We’ll have you up and running as the next archmage before you know it.

  1. Organisation. Decide which of the mage talent trees you’re taking. Then lay spells that you will use as part of that talent tree out in casting order in your toolbar. Put the spells you’ll use most in slots 1-5 so you know where to find them in a pinch. As your mage levels you’ll become so accustomed to where your spells are that casting them is automatic. You may get more spells you’ll use frequently, later.
  2. Blink is your friend. It’ll remove stun and snare effects from you. It will also transport you a safe distance from enemies in melee range. Be careful to check the direction you’re blinking (you will move in the direction you’re facing) – you don’t want to blink into extra enemies.
  3. Keep your enemy at maximum range. This is important if you’re questing or in a dungeon because it’s important to minimise the damage you take: the nearer the monster you are, the more things that might go wrong. Some monsters, for example, may do aoe damage to everything near it even if you’re not its target. Frost nova will help enemies stay away while you’re questing.
  4. Recognise healing monsters. Monsters who can cast spells will have a castbar below their picture. Watch it. Over time you’ll start recognising that when the monster casts certain spells their health replenishes. Look out for those spells (and others that sound similar) and when it casts, stop whatever you’re casting and use Counterspell to stop it. This is a useful mage levelling tip for dungeons as well as questing.
  5. Don’t get taken by surprise. If you’re questing to level your mage, watch out for extra monsters wandering close. Watch out for players from the opposite faction who may try to engage in fights with you. Remember that players can fly everywhere now so watch the sky.

_L__ike this? Want more tips on mage levelling? See the second part here. Or if you want more in depth further reading on mage levelling just let me know in the comments!



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