We Appreciate Power (19 Arcane Mage Guide) Introduction Introduction Changelog Basics Choosing a race Creating a new Mage Professions Toolkit overview Talents Gearing Stats Core Set Additional Options (Side Board) Upgrades Gameplay Mana Management Dealing effective damage Landing CC Peeling Macros Question Archive Introduction: Welcome to this level 19 Arcane Mage Guide. I’m Ellipsis / Eclipsis, I have been twinking on and off for over 5 years, have multiple seasons endgame RBG experience, and participated in the 2016 Twink Cup on GSC A Team. Everything written in this guide is my opinion, you are free to respectfully challenge, question, or disregard any of it. Though Arcane Mage is currently considered to be both one of the simplest, and most overpowered specs in the 10-19 bracket, it will not be that way forever. It is also very popular, and shares a utility toolkit with Frost and Fire. This guide will help those newer to Arcane, and to casters at 19 in general, whilst also providing some transferable information for the other mage specs. This isn’t meant to be super advanced, or focused specifically on wargames / coordinated play. This guide neither condemns nor encourages exploits to obtain items. You do you, but they won’t be written about here. Changelog: Without further ado... BasicsChoosing a Race: Preference and taste go a long way in deciding what race to play as a mage. While there are one or two stand out options, the decision is up to you, and outside of top tier wargames is unlikely to affect that much. Races Human - Due to the lack of stuns in the bracket, and already having access to blink, human is considered a weaker choice for a Mage. Dwarf - Also considered weaker, additional crit damage isn’t good for Arcane, though Stoneform is an interesting defensive tool. Night Elf - 1% haste during the night is good for arcane, as is Shadowmeld for avoiding CC and as a powerful clutch defensive in mid fights. This makes Night Elf one of the best choices for an Alliance Mage Gnome - Also sporting 1% increased haste, and with the largest base intellect of any Alliance race, as well as increased mana and Escape Artist, Gnome is another strong pick for Mage. Draenei - With mediocre base stats, and a mediocre defensive in Gift of the Naaru, Draenei is generally not a good pick for Mage. Worgen - Darkflight can be useful for chasing or kiting, but the 1% crit isn’t very valuable for Arcane. Pandaren - Though Polymorph and Quaking Palm share Diminishing Returns, it is still useful, and the race specific food is ok. Orc - Not having a pet, and the lack of stuns in the bracket, make orc one of the less desirable races for Arcane Mage. Blood Fury is not strong enough to make up for that. Undead - A fantasy classic. Though there are fears in the bracket, and touch of the grave does ok damage, Undead is not a strong choice. Troll - Berserking can be useful to burst or get off a clutch fast Polymorph, but 3 minutes is a lot for a damage cd. The voodoo shuffle is also ok against earthbind totem. Blood Elf - Tied with Goblin for intellect, but 1% crit doesn’t add too much, and there is little to dispel in the 10-19 bracket. It is very pretty though. Goblin - My personal choice for a Horde Mage. Tied with Blood Elf for intellect, with an extra 1% haste, and a very useful mobility tool in Goblin Rocket Jump. Allied Races: Though an allied race is created at level 20, those in the 10-19 bracket have access to allied races through race change. This means you’ll have to pay whatever your regional cost is to play these races. Void Elf - Arcane benefits greatly from Preternatural Calm, and Spatial Rift is a powerful movement tool, especially combined with blink. Lightforged - Light’s Judgement has some uses for burst, but there is little else going for Lightforged. Dark Iron - A very strong choice, sporting the multi purpose cooldown Fireblood, and Dungeon Delver for flag room kiting. Kul Tiran - With access to a casted knockdown, and 1% additional versatility, Kul Tiran is not a bad choice for a Mage. Nightborne - Arcane Pulse’s slow can be useful for kiting, and 1% increased magic damage is fine, though not as good 1% haste or versatility. Mag’har - Ancestral Call is an ok damage cooldown, but the race has nothing else going for it in the 10-19 bracket. Zandalari - Embrace of the Loa offers a 5% speed increase, a mediocre damage proc, or a crit increase. Though Regeneratin’ can be powerful in a 1v1, the race isn’t that good for a Mage. Creating a New Mage: With 8.1.5, Blizzard made a major change to the quest reward system in the game. For all levels, uncommon and rare quest rewards now have a chance to upgrade to either rare or epic versions of themselves. A standard uncommon quest reward at level 19 has ilvl 19, a rare 25, and an epic 31. Because of this, it’s advised to avoid turning in quests that reward uncommon or higher items until you reach level 19, in case they upgrade and become usable as a twink item. Though any uncommon or rare item can upgrade, not all epic quest items are worth using at level 19. Be on the lookout for items with unusually high stats, or good secondaries, some particularly potent options will be covered in the gearing section. Professions: There aren’t really options for professions as a Mage. Engineering is a necessity due to the power of the Green Lens and Spellpower Goggles Xtreme Plus. Alchemy provides a permanent 8 intellect flask, but If you only plan to do Wargames, then it isn’t necessary as you can’t use it there. Toolkit Overview: Arcane Missiles - The only button you will ever need. Arcane missiles is useful for short engagements where you don’t have Arcane Charges saved up, chasing, and dealing damage to targets on the edge of your range threshold. Clearcasting procs are also key for burst. Arcane Blast - In long engagements, this should be your go-to filler spell, and primary source of damage in a structured mid fight. Arcane Barrage - Use this to drop Arcane Charges to help manage your mana, deal damage on the move when chasing, and as a last resort when bursting. Arcane Explosion - Use this to attempt to get enemies out of stealth, and to generate arcane charges on the move. Polymorph - One of only two spammable Crowd Control abilities in the bracket. With no healer dispels, Polymorph has a multitude of uses for disruption, peeling, and landing kills. Frost Nova - Again, with no dispels, Frost Nova is a powerful and often neglected Crowd Control tool. Blink - Breaks stuns, and can be used to both engage and escape fights. Be careful not to be too aggressive with it, as you’ll very easily die if caught out of position. Talents: There is little to no discussion or contention regarding Arcane talents in the 10-19 bracket, nonetheless I will cover potential uses for each. Amplification - Generally considered the best choice. The proc is already frequent, and this talent provides a lot of additional damage to Arcane Missiles. Rule of Threes - Though mana management is a skill for Arcane, it is very rarely a problem. This talent does not see use. Arcane Familiar - Agreed to be a worse choice than amplification. Although if you do have mana management problems, this will help while you’re learning. GearingStats: Arcane’s stat priority should be as follows: Intellect > Versatility > Haste > Crit Intellect and versatility are both very strong, as they increase the overall damage of all of your spells, playing into Arcane’s sustained damage role. Haste reduces your cast times, including Polymorph, and reduces your GCD to make bursting and landing CC easier. Critical strike is already severely weakened in PvP, but it also doesn’t really play into Arcane’s role of sustained dps. As Arcane does not have a secondary damage school, it is a lot more susceptible to interrupts, and being swapped onto than other mage specs. Because of this, I suggest you aim to run at least 1700 HP for a standard mid set, though this is up to you and your style of play. Core Set: This set is meant to be a strong starting point for any new Arcane Mage. As such I won’t be including items from Random Battleground crates (As those are near impossible to obtain), or anything excessively rare or expensive. Random dungeon bag items (Enumerated and Tumultuous), as well as Green Lens, come with a variety of stat combinations and, though ideally you are looking for those "Of the Aurora", any combination with versatility is fine. As some enchants have multiple identical versions for level 19, I will also provide Necroaqua’s full enchant breakdown. Core Set Head: Green Lens of the Aurora Neck: Eternal Amulet of the Redeemed | Mark of the Hidden Satyr Shoulder: Exquisite Sunderseer Mantle | Lesser inscription of the Crag Back: Cape of the Brotherhood | Greater Intellect / Gift of Versatility Chest: Robe of the Moccasin | Glorious Stats Wrists: Enumerated Bracers of the Aurora| Greater Spellpower / Major Stamina Hands: Enumerated Handwraps of the Aurora | Major Spellpower Waist: Enumerated Wrap of the Aurora Legs: Tattered Dreadmist Leggings | Brilliant Spellthread / Powerful Enchanted Spellthread Feet: Enumerated Sandals of the Aurora | Earthen Vitality / Minor Speed Finger 1: Advisor’s Ring / Lorekeeper’s Ring | Seal of Versatility Finger 2: Tumultuous Ring of the Aurora| Seal of Versatility Trinkets: Battle Hymnal / Inherited Mark of Tyranny Weapon: Foamspittle Staff (Ilvl 25) (R) | Major Spellpower Additional Options (Side Board): These items aren’t necessarily strict upgrades, but are good to have to accommodate various situations and playstyles. Additional Options (Side Board) Head: Spellpower Goggles Xtreme Plus Chest: Mystic’s Wrap Wrists: Bright Bracers Hands: Pagan Mitts of the Aurora| Glove Reinforcements Waist: Keller’s Girdle Legs: Colourful Kilt / Shimmering Trousers of the Aurora / Darkweave Breeches (23) | Ironscale Leg Armor Trinkets: Defending Champion / Returning Champion / Discerning Eye of the Beast / Inherited Insignia Upgrades: Generally considered upgrades to the core set pieces, obtained either through extensive farming, quest RNG, or purchased on the AH for large amounts of gold. All epics are scaled to ilvl 31. Upgrades Shoulder: Faerie Mantle (E) / Spider-Handler’s Mantle (E) Chest: Silvermoon Robes of the Aurora (E) / Fallen Apprentice’s Robe (E) Wrists: Bel’varil’s Armbands (E)/ Dastardly Bracers (E) / Mindthrust Bracers (23) Hands: Flutterer Silk Handwraps (E)/ Scholar’s Gloves (E) / Troll Handler Gloves (E) / Magefist Gloves (23) | Glove Reinforcements are an option when enchanting BoE gloves. Legs: Vandril’s Hand Me Down Pants (E) Feet: Harvester Boots (E) Finger: Black Widow Band Weapon: Foamspittle Staff (E) / Lilith’s Wand (E) / Grayson’s Torch (E) Gameplay This section uses a colour coding system, nothing regarding Arcane Mage is mechanically difficult. These ratings are mostly to do with decision making and thought process. Easy: Stuff that isn’t hard for any player to understand or do. Medium: Things that might require some thought and practice to get right. Hard: These are things that will either take a lot practice or prior experience to understand and implement. Mana Management: Without a lot of the quality of life tools that Arcane has at endgame, your ability to manage your own mana becomes very important. Improve your mana management by... Not wasting mana. You aren’t limited by your globals as much as you are by your mana bar. Try not to dip much below 40% mana, unless you’re pushing hard for a kill or have the momentum to finish off the enemy team. You don’t have to always be casting damaging spells, as long as you aren’t sitting at full mana. Getting used to your natural mana regeneration, and even finding opportunities to drop combat to eat during a fight if necessary. Dealing Effective Damage: Damage is the bread and butter of Arcane Mage, but there’s a difference between getting big numbers on the BG scoreboard, and creating pressure in a mid fight. Try to deal effective damage by… Keeping an eye out for targets out of range of healing, without hots or shields, or in poor positions to retreat. This forces enemy healers to push forward to save them, them to retreat, or them to die. Not dying. It seems obvious, but a dead mage doesn’t do damage, and it’s a long walk back to the fight from the graveyard, don’t get caught out of position. Targeting those attempting to break off, cross, or push in to your team. Arcane’s sustained damage is very good at keeping an enemy team contained and at arm’s length. Using focus macros for your damaging abilities, this means enemy healers can’t predict your damage by looking at your target. Handling and predicting interrupts, either by fake casting, or by deliberately taking an interrupt at a point where you can deal with it. Predicting the enemy team’s reaction to your damage, and attempting to counter or punish that reaction. Keeping up the cycle of creating problems, predicting reactions, and countering those reactions helps build pressure for your team. Landing CC: Polymorph and Frost Nova are powerful crowd control tools in the 10-19 bracket, get the most out of them by… Using focus or mouseover macros to make Polymorphs less predictable, and quickly go back to dealing damage. Using Polymorph and Frost Nova on out of position dps to set up swaps, as well as destabilize the enemy when they are retreating. Chaining your Polymorphs and Frost Novas where appropriate, as well as being ready to re CC anyone who uses their PvP trinket. Using space created by Polymorphing dps to push in for a more aggressive play. Sheep a dps, then pivot that sheep onto a healer while the dps can’t stop or punish you. Polymorphing enemy dps before they can CC you. Keep an eye on enemy Mages and Warlocks, and shut down their attempts to stop you by stopping them first. Using Polymorph as an interrupt. If multiple dps are attacking a single healer, landing sheeps to stop them casting heals can lead to a kill if damage is already high enough. Peeling: Mages are incredibly effective at peeling for their healers and their flag carrier when part of a defensive setup. Maximise your peeling potential by… Polymorphing and Rooting the dps dealing or preparing to deal the most damage. Keeping up your own damage to either force the enemy back or kill them. Judging the correct balance between CC and damage to kill off the enemy offense whilst keeping your healers or FC alive. ExtrasMacros: Macros Mouseover priority Polymorph: Code: #showtooltip /cast [@mouseover, harm, nodead] polymorph Focus Arcane Blast: Code: #showtooltip /cast [@focus] arcane blast Focus Arcane Barrage: Code: #showtooltip /cast [@focus] arcane barrage Focus Arcane Missiles: Code: #showtooltip /cast [@focus] arcane missiles Focus Polymorph: Code: #showtooltip /cast [@focus] polymorph Stopcasting Blink: Code: #showtooltip /stopcasting /stopcasting /cast blink Question Archive: If anyone has any questions, and the answers could be helpful for other people, they will be posted here. Special Thanks: Special thanks goes to Necroaqua, Bestworld, and Vianco for giving their advice on content and formatting.