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Arcane Mage DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoW 4.3.4)

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Contents


Arcane Mage Art Image

In this article, we list your Arcane Mage (WoW 4.3) core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation). We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that playing an Arcane Mage will face you with. The other articles of our Arcane Mage guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the left.

1. Basic Single Target Rotation↑top

The rotation of an Arcane Mage is an alternation of two phases:

  • Burn Phase
  • Preservation Phase

Also, remember to always casts Flame Orb Icon Flame Orb on cooldown (unless you are in the middle of a Burn Phase, in which case you should wait until the Burn Phase is over).

1.1. Cooldown Usage

The 2-minute cooldown on Evocation Icon Evocation will dictate your game as this spell must always be available at the end of a Burn Phase (which is always started by Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power).

Your last cooldown is Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind, which cannot be cast while Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power is active. Therefore, we advise you to make it a sort of passive buff by embedding it in a macro (see our Presence of Mind macro).

2. Basic Multiple Target Rotation↑top

Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion is your main AoE nuke as an Arcane Mage. Ideally, you will cast it when you have 4 stacks of Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast, which means that you need to refresh the stacks every now and then, while casting Arcane Explosion.

A limitation of Arcane Explosion is that it can only damage enemies close to you. If you cannot get in range of your targets, then you will prefer alternating Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike and Blizzard Icon Blizzard.

Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold can be conveniently used to slow down packs of enemies.

3. Armors↑top

Your only viable choice of armor is Mage Armor Icon Mage Armor.

4. Optional Read: Mastering Your Arcane Mage↑top

While the rotations we gave in the previous sections will yield very good results, there are many things you should be aware of, in order to play your Arcane Mage to its full potential. In particular, you will need to become a master at managing your mana.

4.1. Abilities in Details

This section presents a list of the abilities you will need in single target fights as an Arcane Mage.

Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast is your main ability. Because of the stacking buff it gives you, this spell will do most of your damage and will represent most of your mana consumption, especially since every stack decreases the cast time of Arcane Blast. Managing the stacks of Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast is what gives its complexity to the Arcane specialisation.

Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles is an ability that can only be used when it procs. If you have followed the talent tree we proposed, this channeled spell will cast 5 waves of missiles every 0.5 second. Arcane Missiles has no mana cost and removes your stacks of Arcane Blast so it should be used mostly as a mana management means.

Arcane Barrage Icon Arcane Barrage is an instant cast spell that should be used either when you are on the move, or when you want to remove your stacks of Arcane Blast and Arcane Missiles is not activated.

Flame Orb Icon Flame Orb gives you two benefits. Firstly, it deals a lot of damage and only requires a global cooldown to cast. Secondly, every second, it deals damage which gives you a chance to proc Arcane Missiles and ease your mana management.

Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power is your main DPS cooldown.

Evocation Icon Evocation is your only big source of mana regeneration over which you have some control.

Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind is a decent DPS cooldown, especially since it triggers Arcane Potency Icon Arcane Potency. It should be noted that Presence of Mind cannot be used in conjunction with Arcane Power. For this reason, you should use this ability via a macro (see our Presence of Mind macro).

Mana Gem is mentioned here because using it is an integral part of the Arcane Mage rotation. Indeed, it gives a damage boost every time it is used (thanks to Improved Mana Gem Icon Improved Mana Gem). Also, given the importance of mana management for an Arcane Mage, Mana Gems should not be used randomly, but at very precise times.

4.2. Intricacies of Mana Regeneration

Mana regeneration plays an important role in how you will play your Arcane Mage. In the next two sections, we will show you why the amount of mana you have influences your DPS.

4.2.1. Mana Adept

Mana Adept Icon Mana Adept is a unique proficiency that you gain by choosing the Arcane talent tree. It increases the damage you deal with Arcane spells according to the percentage of mana you currently have. Initially, you start with a 12% increase, and you increase that value by increasing your Mastery Rating.

For example, if the tooltip of your Mastery Rating says:

  • Increases all spell damage done by up to 20%, based on the amount of mana the Mage has unspent.

then, for a spell that would otherwise deal 10,000 damage, you will deal:

  • at 10% mana, 10,200 damage, which corresponds to the normal damage value increased by 2% (10% of the 20% increase from Mana Adept).
  • at 25% mana, 10,500 damage, which corresponds to the normal damage value increased by 5% (25% of the 20% increase from Mana Adept).
  • at 50% mana, 11,000 damage, which corresponds to the normal damage value increased by 10% (50% of the 20% increase from Mana Adept).
  • at 75% mana, 11,500 damage, which corresponds to the normal damage value increased by 15% (75% of the 20% increase from Mana Adept).
  • at 100% mana, 12,000 damage, which corresponds to the normal damage value increased by 20% (100% of the 20% increase from Mana Adept).

As you can see, the penalty for casting spells at low mana is not that extraordinary, especially if you compare it to the stacking buff provided by successive casts of Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast. This consideration will be important in the rest of this article.

4.2.2. Mana Costs and Regeneration

Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast, the spell that you will use the most, has a fixed cost: 1219 mana for every mage at level 85. Casting this ability gives you a stacking buff (with a limit of 4 stacks) which increases damage done with Arcane Blast, but also increases the mana cost of that spell.

Arcane Blast will amount for most of your damage. Your second most used ability, Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles has no mana cast. Arcane Barrage Icon Arcane Barrage, that you will use very scarcely, has a fixed mana cost of 1915 for level 85 mages. Actually, the mana cost of your spells is computed as a percentage of your base mana, and that value is constant for level 85 mages (17418).

While the mana cost of your spells will not change according to the value of your stats, your mana regeneration will. Mage Armor Icon Mage Armor (with Glyph of Mage Armor) and Evocation Icon Evocation are your two main sources of mana regeneration while Master of Elements Icon Master of Elements will only account for a fraction of it. The amount of mana you will regenerate with Mage Armor and Evocation will depend purely on the total amount of mana you have. This value, in turn, depends on your total intellect which depends on your gear. To sum it up, the better your gear is, the more mana you will regenerate. This also applies to raid-wise mana replenishment buffs such as Enduring Winter Icon Enduring Winter provided by Frost Mages.

Often, you will see your mana percentage greatly decrease or increase, and you will not be able to explain it by the cost of your spells or your mana regeneration. The answer lies in the Intellect procs from your trinkets and enchantments. When such a proc occurs, it increases your Intellect, which, in turn, increases your mana pool, but your current amount of mana remains the same, explaining why the percentage of mana you have suddenly drops. The opposite phenomenon occurs when the proc wears off: your mana pool decreases but your amount of mana remains the same. Be careful not to waste any mana when these procs wear off (if your current amount of mana is higher than your mana pool after the decrease).

These facts being stated, we can now conclude that the level of your gear will greatly influence the way you play as an Arcane Mage. Indeed, as we will see next, staying close to 100% mana is very important. Having more mana regeneration (i.e., better gear), makes that management easier, allowing you to keep more stacks of Arcane Blast which greatly contributes to increasing your overall damage. This means that the Arcane specialisation is a lot more dependent on gear than Fire or Frost.

4.3. Subtleties of the Arcane Mage Rotation

With extraordinary mana regeneration, the rotation of an Arcane Mage would be quite simple and consist only of Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast. Fortunately, and this is what makes the specialisation interesting, current gear levels do not yet allow for this.

So the rotation of an Arcane Mage is an alternation of two phases:

  • A Burn Phase which consist in burning your mana with Arcane Blast before regenerating it with Evocation Icon Evocation;
  • A Preservation Phase which consists in managing your mana to keep it close to 100% while waiting for the cooldown of Evocation to enable another Burn Phase.

4.3.1. Burn Phase

The Burn Phase will consist in burning your mana from 100% to just under 30% by only using Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast. During that phase, your offensive cooldowns should be used. Typically, you will start by casting Arcane Blast until you have spent 12,000 mana. At that point you should use a macro to:

Then simply spam Arcane Blast until you are slightly below 30% mana. Using Evocation Icon Evocation, combined with your ticks of Mage Armor Icon Mage Armor, will get you back to almost 100% mana. At this point, you need to try and preserve your mana (Preservation Phase) until you can enter the Burn Phase again.

You can enter the Burn Phase when one of these two conditions is satisfied:

  • You are at 100% mana and you know Evocation will be up when you will reach 30% mana (this takes some practice).
  • You know the boss will have died by the time you reach 0% mana.

Obviously, you want to make sure that you will be able to enter a Burn Phase when your raid will ask for Time Warp Icon Time Warp/Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust. Do not use Berserking Icon Berserking during such a time, it will make you cast Arcane Blast too fast and you will hit the global cooldown.

4.3.2. Preservation Phase

The duration of the Preservation Phase and the number of stacks of Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast you will allow yourself during it will depend on your mana regeneration which can be enhanced by raid buffs such as Mana Spring Totem Icon Mana Spring Totem or Enduring Winter Icon Enduring Winter.

The Preservation Phase will last until you can enter the Burn Phase Again. This cycle (Burn Phase + Preservation Phase) lasts two minutes which corresponds to the cooldown of Evocation Icon Evocation. Therefore, the duration of the Preservation Phase depends on how long it takes you to go from 100% mana to 30% mana in the Burn Phase. If it takes you 1 minute, then the Preservation Phase will last 1 minute. If it takes you 45 seconds, then the Preservation Phase will last 1 minute and 15 seconds. It is important that you know how long your Preservation Phase should last, so that you can precisely time your next Burn Phase (according to the remaining time on Evocation cooldown). You should practice on dummy targets to get an idea and adjust your findings according to the buffs your raid will provide you with.

During the Preservation Phase, you will need to control your stacks of Arcane Blast. Anyone in gear from heroic dungeons should be able to go as far as 3 stacks before having to drop them with Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles, if activated, or Arcane Barrage Icon Arcane Barrage. Everyone needs to practice that on dummy targets to see how many stacks their gear level allows them to build.

Flame Orb Icon Flame Orb can be used during the Preservation Phase to force procs of Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles and quickly regenerate your mana back to 100%. Typically, this can be used to alternate sub-phases of higher damage (more stacks of Arcane Blast) with sub-phases of lower damage (very frequent removal of stacks of Arcane Blast through the Arcane Missiles procs from Flame Orb) during the Preservation Phase.

4.4. Tier 13 4-piece Set Bonus

With 4 pieces of the Mage Tier 13 set, each time you cast Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast, you gain a stack of Stolen Time Icon Stolen Time (up to 10 stacks). Whenever you use Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power, these stacks are removed. In addition, each stack of Stolen Time Icon Stolen Time reduces the cooldown of Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power by 7 seconds.

Note that stacks of Stolen Time Icon Stolen Time do not reduce the remaining cooldown of Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power, so if you cast Arcane Power with no stacks of Stolen Time, you will have to wait for its full 2-minute cooldown. Therefore, you should always try to cast Arcane Power with 10 stacks of Stolen Time. The only exception is on the pull, where you want to cast Arcane Power as soon as you get 4 stacks of Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast, in order to benefit from the procs of your trinkets and Enchant Weapon - Power Torrent. This way, you will get a 50-second cooldown on Arcane Power, meaning that you will have to wait 35 seconds, after Arcane Power expires, before being able to cast it again.

You will want to use Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power on cooldown. While Arcane Power is up, what you can do will depend on your gear. The higher your gear is, the more mana you regenerate and the more casts of Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast you can afford.

Your aim should be to always have close to 100% mana when casting Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power. During Arcane Power, cast Arcane Blast Icon Arcane Blast as many times as possible. Weave in a few Arcane Missiles Icon Arcane Missiles, if your mana regeneration does not allow you to spam Arcane Blast.

While Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power is on cooldown, adopt a mana efficient rotation so that you can regenerate mana before Arcane Power becomes available again.




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