Cataclysm Classic Arcane Mage PvE Guide

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This Cataclysm Classic Arcane Mage PvE guide will be a consolidated resource for Arcane Mages. It should be noted that the details in this post will be expanded in time as more details of the upcoming Arcane changes are known, which means some sections may appear sparse at this time.

Cataclysm Classic Arcane Mage PvE Guide


ABArcane Blast
ABarArcane Barrage
AMArcane Missiles
NPNetherwind Presence
TtWTorment the Weak
PoMPresence of Mind
MIMirror Image


Arcane has evolved a particular nomenclature over time to better describe spell rotations and sequences. They are typically in the form AB[x]ABar[a][b][c]AM and can be explained as follows. The basic premise is derived from that you will always cast AB to a certain stack level and clear that stack either by using ABar or AM. The actual stack level itself can vary although it is often stacked to a specific value and then cleared, or AB is cast until an AM proc occurs. Take the following cycle as an example:

AB4ABar234AM : Cast AB to a maximum of a 4 stack, use ABar to clear the stack and restart if no AM proc occurred. If during the AB stacking you gain an AM proc, clear the AB stack with AM on either 2,3 or 4 stacks dependant on when it occurs and your current AB cast has completed.

There are a large number of potential cycles although in practice you will not use so many, but there is still a reactive element as you may need to adjust your cycles to compensate for the RNG of AM procs as well as raid or item effects.

Cataclysm Classic Arcane Mage PvE Guide: Talents

Tier Talent Notes 
1Arcane ConcentrationMandatory.
1Improved CounterspellSkip, PvP talent.
1Netherwind PresenceMandatory.
2Torment the WeakMandatory.
2InvocationOptional. Even though a ranged interrupt, CS still has a 24 second CD.
2Improved Arcane MissilesMandatory and a prerequisite.
2Improved BlinkOptional, can assist in high mobility encounters.
3Arcane FlowsMandatory.
3Presence of MindMandatory and a prerequisite.
3Missile BarrageMandatory.
3Prismatic CloakOptional, reduced raid damage can help in progression encounters.
4Improved PolymorphOptional, can help if CC is typically chaotic.
4Arcane TacticsOptional, the 3% damage buff is only also brought by Retribution Paladins and BM Hunters, which may be a factor dependant on your raid size or composition.
4Incanter’s AbsorptionOptional, dependant on repeated raid damage of the appropriate magic type.
4Improved Arcane ExplosionOptional, can be dangerous to be in melee range.
5Arcane PotencyMandatory.
5SlowMandatory and a prerequisite.
5Nether VortexOptional, useful for untanked targets. Now correctly applies the Slow effect even if the target is beyond unglyphed Slow range.
6Focus MagicMandatory.
6Improved Mana GemMandatory.
7Arcane PowerMandatory.

Fire and Frost Subspec Talents

Not much in the way of choice here currently with the points available and their Arcane synergies.

Tier Talent Notes 
1Piercing IceRecommended.
1Master of ElementsRecommended, though mana returns from this are derived from base mana which does not benefit AB by a significant amount.
1Burning SoulRecommended, a lot of pushback mechanics exist in raids.

Cataclysm Classic Arcane Mage PvE Guide: Talent Specs

Arcane Mage’s talent spec focuses on mobility and reduced raid damage. Depending on your specific raid or role requirements, there are a number of optional talents, which are covered in the table above.


Prime Glyphs

The Arcane Barrage glyph may become viable, depending on further mana changes and analysis.

Major and Minor glyphs are typically driven by raid requirements and personal choice, though some potentially suitable ones are detailed below.

Major Glyphs

Minor Glyphs

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Arcane Cycles

The basic premise behind Arcane DPS is divided into two main phases, the Burn Phase and the Conservation Phase.

Burn Phase

As the name suggests, this is the primary DPS phase of the Arcane spec and is initiated when Evocation will be off CD when the burn phase is completed and ideally, when at full mana with a 4 stack AB present. A typical scenario would be to AB spam until your mana level is such that a Mana Gem will take you to 100% mana, then pop all CDs and continue to spam AB until you reach 35% mana. This phase ends with an Evocation.

Depending on encounter mechanics, the burn phase need not necessarily be initiated at the start of the encounter as was somewhat traditional with Arcane. If periods exist were a specific high RDPS is needed, or the boss enters a phase were they take vastly increased damage, then the burn phase can be aligned to that. Flame Orb can also be used to regenerate mana as in some cases it can initiate a high number of AM procs. This could allow for a secondary limited burn phase after Evocation using every available AM proc to regenerate mana. PoM can also be introduced into the burn phase once AP fades as with the Arcane Potency proc being active, a 4 stack AB is preferable. PoM can also be used at a suitable point prior to the pull, such as conjuring a mana gem and the two Arcane Potency buff charges will be present for the pull itself.

Conservation Phase

This is a mana-neutral rotation designed to keep your mana near 100% until such time as Evocation will soon be off CD. The exact rotation is heavily dependant on gear and raid buffs and is probably the phase affected the most by the coming Arcane changes. The primary focus of this phase is maintaining as close to 100% mana as possible whilst ensuring that no mana is wasted. There will be some variation in your chosen mana neutral cycle as you take advantage of procs such as Clearcasting and Arcane Potency.

Optimal Cycles

Cycle Code Legend:
State Descriptions: ABx,ABary,AM+-,2T10=w
x = number of AB stacks

y = remaining cooldown on Arcane Barrage

+ = Arcane Missiles proc visible

– = Arcane Missiles proc not visible

w = remaining time on 2T10 effect

0: AB0,ABar0,AM–,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Barrage
1: AB0,ABar2.646122,AM–,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Barrage
2: AB1,ABar0.7976553,AM–,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Barrage
3: AB2,ABar0,AM–,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Barrage
4: AB3,ABar0,AM–,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Barrage
5: AB4,ABar0,AM–,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Barrage
6: AB4,ABar0,AM++,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Missiles 2=Arcane Barrage
7: AB3,ABar0,AM++,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Missiles 2=Arcane Barrage
8: AB2,ABar0,AM++,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Missiles 2=Arcane Barrage
9: AB0,ABar2.646122,AM++,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Missiles 2=Arcane Barrage
10: AB0,ABar0.2729933,AM–,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Barrage
11: AB1,ABar0.7976553,AM++,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Missiles 2=Arcane Barrage
12: AB1,ABar0,AM–,2T10=0: 0=Arcane Blast 1=Arcane Barrage


The first block shows the possible states. For example, number 6 is “AB4,ABar0,AM++” it means AB shows 4 stacks, cooldown on ABar is up, and AM proc is showing. The second block shows a spell cycle, you will notice that each cycle has 13 numbers, each corresponds to a state from the first block. The number (0/1/2) corresponds to which spell you cast when in that state. Take the example of the cycle “0000001110000”. This is saying to cast (0) Arcane Blast in every state except states 6, 7 and 8. If we look at those states, that is “AB2,ABar0,AM++” “AB3,ABar0,AM++” and “AB4,ABar0,AM++”. In those states you cast (1) Arcane Missiles. So the overall instruction for that cycle is spam AB, unless AM proc is up and AB stacks are 2, 3 or 4 in which case cast AM. In shorthand this is ABspam234AM.

Cataclysm Classic Arcane Mage PvE Guide: Enchants and Item Enhancements

Cataclysm Classic Arcane Mage PvE Guide
Slot Enhancement Notes 
Head[Arcanum of Hyjal]Guardians of Hyjal: Revered
Shoulders[Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone]Therazane: Exalted
Back50 Int 
Chest20 All Stats 
Wrists50 Int 
Hands50 Haste OR 65 Mastery
Waist1 SocketMade by Blacksmithing
Legs95 Int & 80 StaminaMade by Tailoring
FeetRunspeed & 35 MasteryNon-Runspeed options are: 50 Mastery OR 50 Haste OR 50 Hit
Mainhand WeaponPower Torrent 
Offhand Weapon40 Int 


Intellect is by far the strongest stat and you should prioritise gemming for Intellect on gear. As Intellect is a primary stat and not available for reforging, as a general rule you will gem for Int and reforge as necessary for your secondary stat requirements such as hit.

The following gems are at our disposal:

Stats Name 
40 Intellect[Brilliant Inferno Ruby]
20 Intellect + 20 Haste[Reckless Ember Topaz]
20 Intellect + 20 Mastery[Artful Ember Topaz]
20 Intellect + 20 Hit[Veiled Demonseye]

For your Metagem use a Burning Shadowspirit Diamond. The activation requirement is simply to have a minimum of 3 Red gems in gear. In the meantime, you can temporarily use the Ember Shadowspirit Diamond Metagem instead. If that is too rare/expensive currently on your server, the WOTLK version may suffice: Ember Skyflare Diamond

Relative Stat Values

Intellect is by far the strongest stat, followed by hit although you still have to be mindful of the hit cap. The relative values of Crit, Haste and Mastery can vary a great deal, dependant on gear and raid buffs. The problem with a table of relative stat values is they are typically treated as a mantra set in stone rather than a guide. Tools such as Rawr and SimC are ideal for determining your relative stat values better than any static table.

Haste Cap

With the Patch 4.1 reduction in the AB cast time and given the levels of Haste present on current raid gear, it is now once again feasible to encounter the game mechanic of the Haste Cap; where under stacked spell haste conditions (such as Heroism/Bloodlust/Berserking) your AB cast time hits the 1 second GCD hard limit. Current analysis indicates that excess Haste be reforged to Hit or Mastery as required. Tools such as Rawr can calculate this for you if your appropriate raid buffs and spell haste effects are set correctly.


The following addons may be of use to Arcane Mages, though this is by no means an exhaustive list.


Remember, success as an arcane mage hinges not only on raw power but also on precision and adaptability. Continuously refine your understanding of the class mechanics, stay updated on the latest strategies, and always be willing to adapt to the challenges presented by each encounter. With dedication and practice, you can harness the immense power of arcane magic to become a formidable force in any raid or dungeon. May your spells hit true and your mana pool never run dry as you embark on your adventures in Cataclysm Classic.

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