[Shadowlands] Arcane Mage Guide for Shadowlands (9.0)

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[Shadowlands] Arcane Mage Guide for Shadowlands (9.0)

Unread postby Palerider Fri Nov 06, 2020 3:25 am

Arcane Mage in Shadowlands (9.0)

Hello Everyone, Welcome to my Arcane Mage Guide for Shadowlands (9.0). Over the course of this guide we will go over everything needed to play Arcane in patch 9.0 for the raiding environment. Although not the focus of this guide, things read here should still apply to Mythic+ in most situations.

Changes in 9.0
  • All Azerite And Essences are disabled while in shadowlands zones.
  • Mirror Image is no longer a Talent and is learned by all Mages at level 44. Mirror Images damage greatly reduced, Frostbolt added to all Mirror Images, and while your images are active, damage taken is reduced by 20%. Taking direct damage will cause one of your images to dissipate.
  • All Mages can now use the following abilities:
    • Arcane Explosion – Causes an explosion of magic around the caster, dealing Arcane damage to all enemies within 10 yards.
    • Frostbolt – Launches a bolt of frost at the enemy, causing Frost damage and slowing movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds.
    • Fire Blast – Blasts the enemy for Fire damage.
  • The following Talents have been adjusted:
    • New Talent: Focus Magic – Increases the target's chance to critically hit with spells by 5% for 30 minutes. When the target critically hits, your chance to critically hit with spells is increased by 5% and your Intelligence by 5% for 10 seconds. Cannot be cast on self. Limit 1 target.
    • Shimmer cooldown increased to 25 seconds (was 20 seconds).
    • Rune of Power now places a Rune of Power on the ground for 12 seconds (was 10 seconds) and has an additional effect – Casting Arcane Power, Combustion or Icy Veins will also create a Rune of Power at your location. Is no longer on a charge system
    • Ring of Frost incapacitate duration in PvE increased by 50% and has an additional effect – When the incapacitate expires, enemies are slowed by 65% for 4 seconds.
    • New Ability: Alter Time – Alters the fabric of time, returning you to your current location and health when cast a second time, or after 10 seconds. Effect negated by long distance or death.
  • Arcane Specific Changes
    • Displacement removed.
    • Mastery: Savant now has an additional effect – Increases all other Arcane damage.
    • Clearcasting now has additional effects – Stacks up to 3 times and causes your Arcane Missiles to fire 1 additional missile.
    • Arcane Power cooldown increased to 2 minutes (was 1.5 minutes).
    • Arcane Power no longer has a global cooldown.
    • Touch of the Magi is no longer a Talent and is learned by all Arcane Mages at level 33. Touch of the Magi has been redesigned – Applies Touch of the Magi to your current target, accumulating 25% of the damage you deal to the target for 8 seconds, and then exploding for that amount of Arcane damage to the target and reduced damage to all nearby enemies. Generates 4 Arcane Charges on cast and has a 45 second cooldown.
    • The following Talents have been adjusted:
      • New Talent: Master of Time (replaces Mana Shield) – Reduces the cooldown of Alter Time by 30 seconds. Alter Time resets the cooldown of Blink when you return to your original location.
      • New Talent: Arcane Echo (replaces Charged Up) – Direct damage you deal to enemies affected by Touch of the Magi, causes an explosion that deals Arcane damage to 8 nearby enemies.
      • Amplification causes Arcane Missiles to fire 2 additional missiles when Clearcast (was 1).
      • Resonance damage per target hit with Arcane Barrage increased to 15% (was 10%).
      • Time Anomaly now grants Time Warp for 6 seconds and no longer grants 4 Arcane Charges.
      • Nether Tempest now deals reduced damage on secondary targets.
      • Overpowered lowered to 50% damage and 50% less mana cost (was 60%)
As always, what talents you pick depend a lot on the situation, but it also depends on what gear you have available. If you are uncertain at any point on what talents to pick for your character, you can sim it on Raidbots Talent Compare.

Single Target Talents
As a general rule these talents should be taken in single target circumstances
Level 15: Amplification
Level 25: Shimmer
Level 30: Rune of Power
Level 35: Arcane Echo
Level 40: Chrono Shift
Level 45: Arcane Orb
Level 50: Overpowered

AOE Talents
AOE is considered 3+ Targets for the majority of the fight.
Level 15: Arcane Familiar
Level 25: Shimmer
Level 30: Rune of Power
Level 35: Resonance
Level 40: Chrono Shift
Level 45: Arcane Orb
Level 50: Overpowered

Level 25 row is mostly personal preference as well as fight dictated.
  • Shimmer is a large upgrade to blink however is now on a 25 second cooldown.
  • Master Of Time lowers the cooldown of a major defensive ability and allows the defensive to be used as a mobility option on a 30 second cooldown
  • Slipstream Is nice now that Clearcasting stacks to 3 however the duration of the buff is short and relying on procs for movement is not the best.
Covenants are a new system introduced in the Shadowlands expansion. Chosen upon hitting max level they will grant 1 Class Specific Spell, 1 Covenant Signature ability, and 3 Talent tree like "Soulbinds" unique to each Covenant. In this section we will go over the spells granted. I will not be going over what Covenant is best for each type of content in this guide as it is fight type specific. Feel free to use Wowhead's Soulbind Calculator while reading this section.

The Kyrian Mage Covenant Ability: Radiant Spark
The Kyrian Covenant Signature Ability: Summon Steward

Radiant Spark is a nice damage amp on a low cooldown, it should always be lined up with your Burn when possible to get the most out of it. Cast on cooldown between burns. Make sure to cast Arcane Blast into it to maximize the damage as each tick of Arcane Missiles will consume the damage amp. Cast as the first spell before entering the burn or mini burn.

Kyrian mages choose from Pelagos, Kleia or Forgelite Mikanikos. , Pelagos shines above the others, with great starting ( Combat Meditation) trait, and two Potency Conduits that don't require sacrificing a DPS trait to unlock.

The Venthyr Mage Covenant Ability: Mirrors of Torment
The Venthyr Covenant Signature Ability: Door of Shadows

Mirrors of Torment Should always be used during your Burn for the additional damage, the mana gained from it while nice is ultimately not rotation altering. Always cast as the first spell when entering your burn.

Venthyr mages unlock the ability to bind with Nadjia, Theotar and General Draven. Theotar has the best early trait ( Soothing Shade) and remains competitive when the trees are fully unlocked. Nadjia, with her strong raid ability ( Dauntless Duelist), is a single target monster if the fight allows for you to hit the Priority target first . Draven is locked behind the Venthyr campaign and only becomes strong - slightly better than Theotar - when you unlock his final trait, Built for War. However, he has some great defensive options.

Night Fae
The Night Fae Mage Covenant Ability: Shifting Power
The Night Fae Covenant Signature Ability: Soulshape

Shifting Power should be cast as close to on cooldown as possible inside of your conserve phases to lower the cooldown of your major damage amps.

Members of the Night Fae have 3 amazing choices picking from Niya, Dreamweaver and Korayn. Niya with Grove Invigoration is the best early choice. Upon obtaining 13 Renown, when Dreamweaver gets her second Potency slot - much earlier than any other Soulbind she pulls ahead of Niya. Dreamweaver keeps her lead until Niya gets her second Potency slot at Renown 25, and later Niya's Tools: Burrs (which requires sacrificing that slot) at the end of her tree. Korayn is the best Night Fae choice overall especially for add fights that utilize Wild Hunt Tactics to its fullest, but the difference between them is pretty minor.

The Necrolord Mage Covenant Ability: Deathborne
The Necrolord Covenant Signature Ability: Fleshcraft

Deathborne is a 10% spellpower amp as well as turns Arcane Blast into a 3 target cleave ability. This should be used before entering your burn phase with it timed for cleave if possible. Always cast as the first spell when entering your burn.

Necrolord Mages May get to transform into a lich but the Necrolord Soulbinds are lackluster for DPS use - with one notable outlier. Emeni has perhaps the best trait of any Soulbind, Lead by Example: up to 13% more Intellect for 30 seconds during cooldowns is strong.

Covenant Choice For Arcane
The current clear winner for Arcane Mages is Night Fae, Given the choice of having lower cooldowns arcane mages will always choose the cooldown reduction. With Shifting Power lowering all mage cooldowns equally we do not need to worry about any more desync then we already do. Shifting Power Also adds value depending on fight length to our current best legendary Temporal Warp by allowing for more uptime on the buff.


  • Magi's Brand - Our best all-round Conduit.
  • Nether Precision - At equal ranks only slightly behind Magi's Brand, but mostly only used by Necrolord players.
  • Arcane Prodigy - This is one of our weaker Conduits overall, and is entirely RNG dependent on how many Clearcasting procs you get.
  • Artifice of the Archmage - This Conduit isn't worth much at all on a single target. It's reasonable in AoE, but too specific and random to be of great use.
  • Kyrian: Kyrian: Ire of the Ascended - Deal more damage during Radiant Spark. Cool. Would be much more valuable if Spark lined up with our other abilities, but still the second-best Conduit for Kyrian Mages.
  • Venthyr: Siphoned Malice - Gives Mirrors of Torment an indirect use in AoE, and buffs our spellpower during cooldowns if you can cast Mirrors before starting the Burn Phase. A good second Potency choice.
  • Necrolord: Gift of the Lich - It's bad - like, really, really bad - on a single target: worse than any of our spec Conduits. Has some use in AoE, but it won't be worth switching to.
  • Night Fae: Night Fae: Discipline of the Grove - Poor at low ranks, but climbs when the cooldown reduction starts to mount up.
Magi's Brand will be permanently slotted in, with Nether Precision and Arcane Prodigy also being solid second choices on a single target and Artifice of the Archmage performing reasonably - though randomly - in AoE. The Covenant-specific Conduits are reasonable for Kyrian and Venthyr Mages, but not very useful for Necrolord or Night Fae players.

  • Diverted Energy - Probably the best all-rounder, as it gives healing when it's really needed: after a defensive has been consumed.
  • Cryo-Freeze - It's very rare to stay inside Ice Block for its full duration, but this gets better at high ranks when it provides a quick burst of healing.
  • Tempest Barrier - Adds up to significant healing over the course of an encounter, but not at critical times. Weak at low ranks and gear levels, not one to use in early content.
  • Flow of Time - The best all-rounder, though not very noticeable at low ranks. At maximum rank lowers Blink/ Shimmer's cooldown by nearly five seconds, which is very good.
  • Grounding Surge - Only useful if called on to use Counterspell regularly. Again, negligible effect at low ranks, but at max rank lowers the cooldown from 24 seconds to 18 on a successful interrupt, which lets us slot into melee interrupt rotations.
  • Incantation of Swiftness - Hard to see a use for this, as Greater Invisibility is a strong defensive and not one to blow on simple mobility.
  • Winter's Protection - Ice Block is an insanely powerful defensive and this gives it significant cooldown reduction, but with all our other defensive abilities in Shadowlands (like Alter Time and Mirror Image), this is very fight-dependent. Very useful if the second immunity is needed.
  • Arcane Harmony - Talents like Amplification and Arcane Echo, plus the Clearcasting levelling perk, make Arcane Missiles an important part of the rotation in Shadowlands, and this legendary amplifies that. One of our best single-target powers. It also makes it so that it’s worth casting Clearcast Arcane Missiles on AoE(3 or less targets), providing a rotational change and making it a decent legendary for cleave and AOE Source: Millhouse Manastorm, De Other Side dungeon.
  • Arcane Bombardment - Great for AoE (especially as Arcane Orb means we'll be throwing out more Arcane Barrages) and on execute fights. Decent on single target but very strong on 3+. Source: Torghast.
  • Siphon Storm - Now that Evocation's cooldown doesn't line up with Arcane Power, we'll likely naturally Evocate before Arcane Power, so we're at or above 70% mana going into the burn phase. That makes this a pretty strong legendary power on both single target and AoE fights. It's not as strong as Harmony/Bombardment in their respective areas, but is better than Harmony in AoE and Bombardment on a single target. It has particular synergy with the Shifting Power covenant ability, since a reduced Evocation cooldown translates to a higher effective uptime on the buff. This will be a likely favorite for keystones. Source: Sludgefist, Castle Nathria.
  • Temporal Warp - A great effect with a use on all types of content besides Ranked PvP, but is most useful if you have someone else who can cast Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp as the effects stack. Will be great in raids but likely less usable in Mythic+ content, where you can't guarantee having another player who can bring the Haste buff. Assuming Arcane legendaries remain not locked behind spec, it can also serve as a useful multispec legendary Source: Torghast.
  • Expanded Potential - Behind any of our spec legendaries in single target, and doesn't directly improve damage output in AoE; thanks to Arcane Barrage, we don't really have mana issues when AoEing in Shadowlands. The main benefit of this power is it's usable across all three specs. Source: Stone Legion Generals (General Grashaal and General Kaal) in Castle Nathria.
  • Grisly Icicle - A good solo legendary (Torghast, World Quests, etc), but this isn't something you should equip in a group setting as other players can still break your Frost Nova. Source: Purveyor Zo'kuul in Oribos, for 1,500 Honor.
  • Disciplinary Command - All three specs can activate this using Frostbolt/ Frost Nova, Fire Blast and Arcane Explosion/ Counterspell, but it's among Arcane's weakest legendary powers as we don't rely on or stack Crit. Source: Mistcaller in the Mists of Tirna Scithe.
  • Triune Ward - A great defensive option with excellent synergy with the barrier conduits, but not an effect we'll initially target while we can only equip one legendary. Source: Torghast.
The Arcane Mage rotation still consists of a Burn and a Conserve phase. You go into the Burn Phase when your DPS cooldowns are up, and when you are out of Mana, you use Evocation to go back up to a 100% Mana. At this point, you will try to Conserve some of your Mana until your cooldowns are back up, and then the process repeats.

Burn Phase
The Burn phase commences at the start of the encounter, and whenever Arcane Power is off cooldown thereafter. You will also enter a "Miniburn" when Touch of the Magi is off cooldown. It is important to ensure you will not be interrupted during the Burn phase, so avoid entering this part of the rotating during heavy movement or when volatile mechanics are active.

You can enter the Burn Phase when the following is true: Below we have listed the order in which you should perform your spells during the Burn Phase. Mini Burn Phase

You can enter a Mini Burn Phase when the following is true: Below we have listed the order in which you should perform your spells during the Mini Burn Phase. Conserve Phase
You should enter the Conserve Phase any time you are not in the Burn Phase. During the Conserve Phase you should try to maximize the amount of time spent casting Arcane Blast with 4 Arcane Charges, while keeping your Mana high enough during the Conserve Phase that when your cooldowns are ready you can enter the Burn Phase.

Below we have listed the priority in which you should use your spell during the Conserve Phase. AOE Rotation
On 3 targets or more, you cast Arcane Explosion instead of Arcane Blast. Additionally, whenever you reach 4 Arcane Charges, cast Arcane Barrage , even in the burn phase. This effectively means that in 3+ target situations, you cast Arcane Explosion 4 times, followed by Arcane Barrage. For Touch of the Magi use in AOE Arcane Barrage before casting Touch of the Magi then Arcane Barrage after the cast and continue your normal AOE rotation, do not cast Single target spells into Touch of the Magi in AOE.

Exception to this rule when running Arcane Harmony you will spend your Clearcasting stacks on Arcane Missiles in less then 4 Targets, 7 targets if running Arcane Harmony and Amplification is talented.

Fishing For And Pooling Procs
Before both burn and mini burn you should look to pool Clearcasting procs holding them to dump into Touch of the Magi during your burns. When doing this as a general rule for safety of not losing your Clearcasting buffs start holding your Clearcasting stacks around 10 seconds before Touch of the Magi is ready, you can push this at your own discretion and on when you get your procs to refresh this is just a safe rule.

On your opener with Arcane Echo talented it can be worth to cast Rune of Power first before entering your burn to "Fish" for Clearcasting procs to use during your burn. When your casted Rune of Power is about to fade cast Arcane Barrage then enter your burn like normal with your new Clearcasting stacks.


Q: What weapon oil should I use?
A: Shadowcore Oil

Q: What food should I use?
A: Feast of Gluttonous Hedonism is your best food. If your raid is not using feasts, run Raidbots stat weights to get your best secondary stat, and then get the best possible food for that secondary.

Q: What potion should I use?
A: Due to the nature of Shadowlands this may change due to your Covenant choice, Sim yourself on Raidbots to find your answer.

Q: What weapon enchant should I use?
A: Due to the nature of Shadowlands this may change due to your Covenant choice, Sim yourself on Raidbots to find your answer.

Thank you for reading my Guide, Special Thanks to Malon for letting me use his Conduit, Soulbind, and Legendary descriptions.
Thank you to Porom as well for the help editing
If you have any questions feel free to ask or stop by the Altered Time Discord.
Last edited by Palerider on Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:36 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: [Shadowlands] Arcane Mage Guide for Shadowlands (9.0)

Unread postby Palerider Fri Nov 06, 2020 11:03 pm

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Re: [Shadowlands] Arcane Mage Guide for Shadowlands (9.0)

Unread postby Zauberdings Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:06 pm

Sorry to hijack, but is there a reason the frost and fire mage posts are not accessible?
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