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Mage Beginner Guide WoW – Overview & Builds for ALL Specs

Mage Beginner Guide WoW – Overview & Builds for ALL Specs

Guide Written By: Dottz Gaming

Table of Contents

  1. Video
  2. Introduction
  3. Specializations
    1. Arcane
    2. Fire
    3. Frost
  4. Contact Info
  5. Update Log

Video

Introduction

Welcome to DottzGaming.com’s beginner guide for the Mage class in World of Warcraft! This guide will give you a brief overview to what the class has to offer, its specializations and new player focused talent setups to get you going on your adventures through Azeroth! If you are brand new to WoW and are reading this guide, I also recommend checking out my WoW Complete Beginner Guide, which will teach you all non-class specific things you need to know to get yourself started in WoW.

The Mage in World of Warcraft is your stereotypical magician/wizard class, lobbing fire, ice and arcane magic at their opponents! Mages can be found all over Azeroth, studying and learning more about the magical energies of the world they inhabit. The arcane forces studied by mage’s have been around Azeroth since the early days of elven civilization, with the events of the past causing it to be studied by elves and humans alike, and eventually spreading to all parts of Azeroth! Mage’s established an order known as the Kirin Tor to help manage the use and study of magic in the city of Dalaran, which has become a hub for researching spells, artifacts and other magical items.

The Mage class is a pure damage dealing class, with no tank or healing specialization. Mage’s focus on three schools of magic, with their specialization choice allowing them to focus on one school as their primary source of power. Arcane mages embrace the arcane energies, utilizing it for strong crowd-control, utility and burst when fighting their foes. Fire mages focus on utilizing fire for strong burst single target and area of effect damage, with the fire lingering on their opponents for some additional DoT pressure! Frost mages focus on keeping their opponents frozen in their tracks and perpetually slowed down, all while lobbing a barrage of ice magic at their opponents and kiting them with ease. Frost can also have a Water Elemental pet by their side, or choose to forego it for additional power. Mage’s are a very powerful class, with strong mobility, crowd control and damage at the cost of tankiness. But with that being said, Mages are consistently one of the strongest classes in World of Warcraft.

The mage’s primary resource is mana, while Arcane mages also utilize a resource called “Arcane Charge” to empower their skills. Mage’s wear cloth armor, they utilize Intellect as their primary stat, and they wield staves, wands, daggers, one-handed swords and off-handed items (excluding shields). Mages also have the unique ability to create food/water for themselves an allies at any time, teleport themselves and their allies around the world and provide a buff that grants increases intellect to their party members!

Races that can play the Mage class are as follows:

  • Blood Elf (Horde)
  • Dark Iron Dwarf (Alliance)
  • Dwarf (Alliance)
  • Draenei (Alliance)
  • Gnome (Alliance)
  • Goblin (Horde)
  • Human (Alliance)
  • Lightforged Draenei (Alliance)
  • Kul Tiran (Alliance)
  • Mag’har Orc (Horde)
  • Mechagnome (Alliance)
  • Night Elf (Alliance)
  • Nightborne (Horde)
  • Orc (Horde)
  • Pandaren (Alliance/Horde)
  • Troll (Horde)
  • Undead (Horde)
  • Void Elf (Alliance)
  • Vulpera (Horde)
  • Worgen (Alliance)
  • Zandalari Troll (Horde)

Now that we have a brief summary of the class out of the way, let’s get into the specs and what they have to offer. The following builds are going to be tailored to new players, looking to make your rotation as easy and straightforward while adding as few additional skills to your action bars as possible. If you’re looking for something more advanced and focused on dealing as much damage as possible, I recommend checking out Icy-Veins or WoWhead for builds more tailored towards end game raids, mythic+ and rated PvP.

Specializations

Arcane

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Amplification – This gives our Arcane Missiles, a channeled single target attack, the ability to fire 2 additional bolts of arcane energy over the channel when we Clearcast the ability. Clearcast is a passive that gives us a chance when spending mana to make next our next skill free and cast faster.
  2. Slipstream – This talent synchronizes well with Amplification, allowing the clearcasted Arcane Missiles to be channeled while moving. In addition, Evocation (channeled spell that increases mana regeneration) can also be casted while moving!
  3. Incanter’s Flow – This passive talent causes us to cycle our damage up and down, increasing our damage by up to 20% while in the heat of combat, and then going back down to 4%. This cycle happens every 10 seconds.
  4. Resonance – This talent causes Arcane Barrage, an instant cast Arcane damage spell that gets augmented by our Arcane charges, to deal 15% damage for each target struck, allowing it to have a nice increase to its damage when fighting multiple enemies.
  5. Chrono Shift – This talent causes your Arcane Barrage to slow enemies by 50% and increase your movement speed by the same amount for 5 seconds!
  6. Arcane Orb – This talent gives you an additional active skill that launches an orb of arcane energy forward, dealing a large amount of damage to enemies it passes through while also generating Arcane Charges (arcane charges will be discussed in the rotation section).
  7. Overpowered – This talent increases the potency of your burst cooldown, Arcane Power, by now causing it to increase your damage by 50% and reduce the cost of your skills by 50%, allowing you to cast a ton of hard hitting skills over its duration!
  8. Temporal Shield – This PvP talent causes a rift in time, by causing all damage you take over 4 seconds while shielded to be instantly reverted when the shield ends. This allows you to negate massive incoming pressure to your character in PvP!
  9. Arcane Empowerment – This passive talent plays well into our first two talents, allowing clearcast to stack up to 2 additional times and increase the damage of Arcane Missiles by 5% per stack. The drawback is that clearcasting no longer reduces the mana cost of arcane explosion, but that is not a big deal in PvP.
  10. Netherwind Armor – Reduces the chance to be critically struck by 15%, making your Arcane Mage a bit tankier in PvP combat!

Rotation

Dealing Damage

The rotation for Arcane is based around building up Arcane Charges with your skills and then spending them on Arcane Barrage, since the more charges Arcane Barrage consumes, the more powerful it is. The order of your rotation is as follows, and you can follow the rotations order at any point based on what cooldowns you have:

NOTE: Any time during the rotation you get Clearcasting, cast Arcane Missiles.

  1. Apply Touch of the Magi to your target to start to build up its damage and instantly giving you 4 arcane charges.
  2. Use Arcane Barrage.
  3. Use Arcane Orb to build up some initial Arcane charges.
  4. Cast Arcane Blast
  5. When you reach 4 charges, cast Arcane Barrage.

Offense

  • Cast Arcane Power when you want to deal a huge spike of damage, since it gives you a percent damage increase while making your skills cheaper!
  • If you want to generate arcane charges quickly, use Presence of Mind to make your next 2 Arcane Blasts instant cast.
  • Make sure Arcane Intellect is on yourself and your party at all times to maximize your magical damage!

Defense

  • If you are taking a huge amount of damage or need to make yourself immune to a massive incoming hit, use Ice Block. Keep in mind though that you can not take any actions while you are in the Ice Block.
  • Maintain Prismatic Barrier on yourself on cooldown to make sure that you have your damage shield up as often as possible to mitigate damage.
  • Cast Greater Invisibility when you need to slip from sight and mitigate some damage! You can also use this to drop threat off of you if needed, or sneak up on your enemy to get the first strike!
  • Blink to put some distance between you and your enemy, or to re-position yourself to a more favorable offensive position!
  • Use Frost Nova to freeze enemies in their tracks and prevent them from reaching you.
  • Use Polymorph to crowd control problem enemies, CCing them for up to 1 minute (shorter duration in PvP but serves the same purpose). Any damage will break this effect though.
  • You can use Alter Time in cheeky ways to return yourself to your previous location after casting the spell again or after 10 seconds. Combine it with other skills such as Blink for some interesting plays!
  • Use Mirror Image when you need some damage mitigation, as this reduces the damage you take by 20%!

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Critical Strike
  2. Mastery
  3. Versatility
  4. Haste

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Night Fae

Recommended Legendary: Memory of an Arcane Bombardment

Fire

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Searing Touch – This talent boosts the potency of Scorch (a spell that deals fire damage and can be casted while moving) by causing it do deal 150% increased damage and be a guaranteed critical strike to targets below 35% health.
  2. Blazing Soul – This causes your Blink (a skill that teleports you forward) to also apply Blazing Barrier, giving you a damage shield after you successfully teleport, giving you a bit of extra tankiness!
  3. Incanter’s Flow – This passive talent causes us to cycle our damage up and down, increasing our damage by up to 20% while in the heat of combat, and then going back down to 4%. This cycle happens every 10 seconds.
  4. Flame On – This talent reduces the cooldown of Fire Blast (an instant cast spell that deals direct fire damage and automatically crits) by 2 seconds and increases the amount of charges the skill has by 1, allowing you to have 3 charges of this spell!
  5. Frenetic Speed – Casting Scorch increases your movement speed by 30% for 3 seconds, allowing you to be really quick while you’re moving and casting this skill, as well as your instant casts!
  6. Conflagration – This talent causes your Fireball (a casted fire spell that deals damage) to also apply a fire damage over time effect that lasts 8 seconds. Enemies that are effected by this DoT or Ignite (your mastery passive that causes your primary flame attacks to also apply a flame DoT) have a 10% chance to have these flame DoTs flare up, dealing fire damage to nearby enemies.
  7. Kindling – Critical strikes from four of your primary attacks – Fireball, Pyroblast, Fire Blast and Phoenix Flames – reduce the remaining cooldown on Combustion (your primary offensive cooldown) by 1.5 seconds, allowing you to use this cooldown more often!
  8. Flamecannon – A PvP talent that turns you into a turret. After standing still in combat for 2 seconds, your maximum health and damage are increased by 3%, and the range of your fire spells is increased by 3 yards. This effect can stack up to 5 times and lasts for 5 seconds.
  9. Pyrokinesis – This effect causes your Fireball to reduce the cooldown of combustion by 5 seconds, combining well with Kindling to give you constant cooldown reduction on your combustion!
  10. Kleptomania – This causes your Spellsteal to steal all buffs your target has, but it also increases the skills cooldown to 30 seconds. This skill is incredibly strong as it allows you to rip off all your opponents buffs at extremely opportune moments!

Rotation

Dealing Damage

When playing as a Fire Mage, the most important thing you need to pay attention to is your critical hits, as these directly ties into one of your most important passives: Hot Streak! This passive makes it so that your next Pyroblast (a strong single target spell that has a very long cast time) or Flame Strike (a strong AoE skill that also has a long cast time) is actually instant cast! In order to proc hot streak, you need to critically hit twice in a row. Thankfully, one of our skills, Fire Blast, is guaranteed to critically hit!

With this in mind, the goal rotation is to cast Phoenix Flames whenever you have a charge of it, or use Fireball if you don’t. Once you get your first critical strike, you’ll be “heating up”, as can be seen by indicators next to your character. Once you are “heating up”, you’ll want to follow up with a Fire Blast to make sure you proc Hot Streak! You’ll then spend that proc on Pyroblast or Flamestrike, depending on if you need single target or area of effect damage. Then, just simply rinse and repeat this process! Do keep in mind that Fireblast can be used while casting other skills, so if you’re in the middle of casting another Fireball when you get heating up, you can use Fireblast to guarantee the Hot Streak proc, and then use Pyroblast or Flamestrike when you’re done casting your previous skill!

Offense

  • You might be wondering where Scorch falls into the rotation listed above: it should be used when you need to move but want to continue dealing damage. Many casters don’t deal much damage while moving, but Fire Mage has Scorch specifically for moments where fights require movement, allowing you to still deal damage while being mobile!
  • Use Combustion when you want to deal a big burst of damage! This increases your critical strike by 100% making it easy for you to continually proc Hot Streak! In addition, your Mastery is increased by 50% of your critical strike rating!
  • Cast Invisibility before a fight to sneak up on your enemy and start on the offensive, or to avoid certain monsters you don’t want to fight! You can also use this to drop threat off of you if needed!
  • Make sure Arcane Intellect is on yourself and your party at all times to maximize your magical damage!

Defense

  • If you are taking a huge amount of damage or need to make yourself immune to a massive incoming hit, use Ice Block. Keep in mind though that you can not take any actions while you are in the Ice Block.
  • Maintain Blazing Barrier on yourself on cooldown to make sure that you have your damage shield up as often as possible to mitigate damage.
  • Blink to put some distance between you and your enemy, or to re-position yourself to a more favorable offensive position!
  • Use Frost Nova to freeze enemies in their tracks and prevent them from reaching you.
  • Use Polymorph to crowd control problem enemies, CCing them for up to 1 minute (shorter duration in PvP but serves the same purpose). Any damage will break this effect though.
  • You can use Alter Time in cheeky ways to return yourself to your previous location after casting the spell again or after 10 seconds. Combine it with other skills such as Blink for some interesting plays!
  • Use Mirror Image when you need some damage mitigation, as this reduces the damage you take by 20%!
  • Fire Mage’s have a great “cheat death” passive called Cauterize, which will make it so that damage that would otherwise kill you drop you to 35% health instead, and then burn you for 28% of that regenerated health while also giving you a movement speed increase.

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Haste
  2. Mastery
  3. Versatility
  4. Critical Strike

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Night Fae

Recommended Legendary: Memory of the Firestorm

Frost

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Lonely Winter – This causes you to no longer be able to summon your water elemental, but instead increases your damage on some of your primary skills by 25%! This talent makes the frost mage easier to play by causing you to not have to worry about the pet, while giving you a massive damage increase in the process.
  2. Glacial Insulation – This talent is a great one for newer players who are looking for some extra durability, by causing your Ice Barrier (a defensive shield you can cast on yourself) to increase your armor by 200%! Also, when your Ice Block (which makes you immune to damage for a duration but you cant take actions) expires, you’ll automatically have an Ice Barrier applied to your character!
  3. Incanter’s Flow – This passive talent causes us to cycle our damage up and down, increasing our damage by up to 20% while in the heat of combat, and then going back down to 4%. This cycle happens every 10 seconds.
  4. Chain Reaction – This talent causes your Ice Lance (an instant cast frost damage ability) against frozen targets to increase the damage of future Icelances by 3% for 10 seconds, stacking up to 5 times, allowing you to really ramp up your damage!
  5. Ice Ward – This talent gives your Frost Nova, a skill that freezes enemies around you in place, 2 charges, allowing you to keep enemies frozen in their tracks more frequently!
  6. Splitting Ice – This talent causes Ice Lance and Icicles to deal 5% increased damage and also hit a second target nearby for 65% of their damage! This talent just gives you some easy cleave by sending out a portion of the damage you’re dealing to your primary target to a secondary one!
  7. Thermal Void – This passive talent causes your Icy Veins, which is your primary offensive cooldown, to last for an additional 10 seconds. In additions, Ice Lances against frozen targest will cause your Icy Veins to be extended by 1 second, giving you a ton of additional uptime on this cooldown!
  8. Frostbite – This passive talent gives your Chill effects, which is a passive slow applied by your frost skills, a 15% chance to freeze targets in place for 4 seconds, allowing you to take full advantage of some of our chosen talents!
  9. Deep Shatter – This causes your frostbolt, your primary casted frost damage spell, to deal 150% increased damage to frozen targets, giving you a big damage throughput increase!
  10. Concentrated Coolness – This talent increases the damage of your Frozen Orb by 10% and allows you to place this swirling orb of frost damage at any location within 40 yards, but it now no longer moves. This allows you to zone enemies out of an area, or siege frozen enemies with a barrage of frost from the orb!

Rotation

Dealing Damage

The rotation for Frost Mage is heavily proc based, so if you enjoy that type of gameplay than frost will be for you! You want to open a fight with Frozen Orb, and then you will be primarily casting Frost Bolt, using your procs as they come up. These procs will appear as blue ice looking icons around your character. When you have a Fingers of Frost proc (shown on the sides), use your Ice Lance, as this makes it deal damage as if your target was frozen (which plays well into our talent build). Whenever you get brain freeze (proc is shown above your character), use Flurry, and then follow it up with 2 Ice Lances. The reason for this is that when Flurry is cast with Brain Freeze, it leaves two stacks of a debuff called Winter’s Chill on your target, which acts similarly to Fingers of Frost. In AoE situations, be sure to place down Blizzard for the area of effect damage. Re-cast Frozen Orb when it comes off of cooldown as well.

Offense

  • Cast Icy Veins whenever you want to deal big damage, as this gives you a massive haste boost and prevents damage from delaying your spell casts!
  • Cast Invisibility before a fight to sneak up on your enemy and start on the offensive, or to avoid certain monsters you don’t want to fight! You can also use this to drop threat off of you if needed!
  • Make sure Arcane Intellect is on yourself and your party at all times to maximize your magical damage!

Defense

  • If you are taking a huge amount of damage or need to make yourself immune to a massive incoming hit, use Ice Block. Keep in mind though that you can not take any actions while you are in the Ice Block.
  • Maintain Ice Barrier on yourself on cooldown to make sure that you have your damage shield up as often as possible to mitigate damage.
  • Blink to put some distance between you and your enemy, or to re-position yourself to a more favorable offensive position!
  • Use Frost Nova to freeze enemies in their tracks and prevent them from reaching you.
  • Use Polymorph to crowd control problem enemies, CCing them for up to 1 minute (shorter duration in PvP but serves the same purpose). Any damage will break this effect though.
  • You can use Alter Time in cheeky ways to return yourself to your previous location after casting the spell again or after 10 seconds. Combine it with other skills such as Blink for some interesting plays!
  • Use Mirror Image when you need some damage mitigation, as this reduces the damage you take by 20%!
  • Use Cold Snap if you need one of your defensive cooldowns in a pinch, as it resets the cooldown of many of your key abilities!

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Critical Strike
  2. Haste
  3. Versatility
  4. Mastery

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Night Fae

Recommended Legendary: Memory of Fragments of Ice

Contact

If you have any questions about the build, join our discord server and ask @Dottz about the build in the #wow-general channel!

Update Log

12/28/2020 – Guide created