Arcane Mage playstyle and rotation guide

Patch 10.1 Last Updated: 24th Apr, 2023
Tamir Arcane Mage Author

Playstyle & Rotation

General Rotation:

The idea behind the arcane gameplay is to have 2 burst windows, similar to how we’ve played the class in shadowlands. We have our big burst window with surge, radiant spark, evocation and touch and our 45-second small burst window with touch and radiant spark.

Things to keep in mind:

Arcane Mages has something we refer to as a "setup." You can read more about it further down the page. However, the "setup" is why we want to delay our Arcane Surge roughly 10 seconds into the pull.

Please consider this when approaching a raid boss, i.e., the raid leader says we need to have CDs ready 2 minutes into the fight to make a DPS check or burst down an add.


0:10 We burn with Arcane SurgeTouch of the MagiRadiant Spark

0:45 Rune of Power comes off cooldown. We hold it

0:50/55 We do a mini burn with rune of power, Touch of the Magi and Radiant Spark

1:45 We burn again (like we did on 10-seconds)

2:25/2:30 We mini burn

**Shifting Power** usage is a bit freer. This means we can use it anytime we want AFTER we've used spells like Surge / Rune / Spark / Touch (Ideally all together) to get the cooldown recovery for everything.

Arcane Setup:

Before discussing the opener, I want to mention the Arcane Mage damage setup.

We need to understand the setup to execute it properly since we depend heavily on our CDs as a frontload Spec.

The setup contains 3 rules

1: Arcane Surge, Touch of the Magi, Radiant Spark, Rune of power, and Evocation need to be ready to use

2: We need to make sure to have at least 18 Arcane Harmony stacks ready before we use Arcane Surge

3: We need to make sure we use the right spells in the proper order, which are:

Example: Radiant Spark (to buff our Arcane Barrage Damage) > Arcane Surge (To gain the spell power buff) Arcane Barrage with the spell power buff from Arcane Surge + Siphon Storm Into a fully stacked (18+ Stacks) Arcane Harmony Into an Arcane Barrage.


The idea behind the setup is to have a huge intellect buff from Siphon Storm  + Arcane Surge and then dump it into our biggest hitters, such as Arcane Barrage with Arcane Harmony. It’s all about how many Intellect modifiers + Arcane Barrage Modifiers we can fit in to make our Burst as big as possible.

Now that we understand our setup well, you can read more about the opener below.


  1. Precast Evocation 7 seconds before the pull to get the big intellect buff from Siphon Storm
  2. 00:00 Use Rune of power, 2x Arcane Orbs, and Arcane Missiles to stack up Arcane Harmony
  3. 00:10 You want to enter the burn window with at least 18 stacks of Arcane Harmony. Once you have enough stacks you want to use Radiant Spark => 3x Arcane Blasts (to buff radiant spark) => Arcane Surge => Nether Tempest => Arcane Barrage. Right before Arcane Barrage Hits your target (The barrage has a slow travel time) you want to use Touch of the Magi since our Arcane Barrage will fit into the Touch of the Magi Damage Modifier then you want to use Arcane Missiles once again to reach 18 or more stacks of Arcane Harmony then Arcane Barrage => Arcane Orb and if you have 1 more second left until Touch of the Magi debuff expires you want to use Presence of Mind with 1 Instant Arcane Blast.
  4. 00:50 Radiant Spark, 4x Arcane Blast, Rune of Power, Nether Tempest, Arcane Barrage, and Touch of the Magi while Barrage travels to the target to fit it inside Touch of the Magi Window and fill in with Arcane Missiles and Clearcasting Procs.
  5. 1:45 Burn Phase (Repeat Line 2)
  6. 2:25 Mini Burn (Repeat line 4)

Multi Target:

The arcane multi-target rotation inside both burn phases is generally the same because most of our AoE damage will come from the Touch of the Magi splash, Arcane Surge, Nether Tempest, and our Arcane Barrage Cleave. However, there are some things that you should follow:

  1. Nether Tempest at 4 Charges (preferably on the highest HP Mob)
  2. Arcane Explosion on 4 or more Targets
  3. Clearcasting outside of Touch of the Magii on Arcane Explosion
  4. Arcane Orb into Arcane Barrage Combos with Arcane Bombartment (preferably at 18 stacks of arcane harmony or more)
  5. With 5 Targets or more, we want to make sure we’re casting as many Arcane Missiles as possible for Arcane Echo pulse damage
  6. If your target is below 35%, and you don’t have high stacks of arcane harmony. In that case, you don’t want to delay your Barrage since Barrage Orb Barrage combos at 4 arcane Charges are too much damage to give up on rather than building to full stacks and potentially losing 1 barrage on execute range packs or mobs
  7. Arcane Barrage > Arcane Orb > Arcane Barrage is our strongest combo and can lead to Massive Damage on targets that are in execute range.
  8. Make sure you are spending clearcasting procs on missiles to build for a big Arcane Barrage execute when mobs are getting close to the 35% HP Threshold.


Why don't we cast touch of the magi and radiant spark together like shadowlands?

Previously in shadowlands, we had a lot of damage amplifiers to Arcane Barrage + Radiant Spark conduit. So, the value of 1 single Barrage fully stacked with the arcane harmony legendary (in Shadowlands) was all of our damage.

In Dragonflight, Arcane Harmony  was made into a talent. However, the Arcane Harmony talent stacks only up to 100% damage increase on Barrage compared to 144% in Shadowlands. The value of 1 fully stacked Barrage is lower. That's why we want to squeeze in 2 sets of fully stacked Arcane Barrages inside the Touch of the Magi window to compensate for the loss of Damage we lost from the Arcane Harmony Shadowlands Legendary + Radiant Spark conduit.

TL;dr 2 Barrage casts inside the touch of the magi window is more damage compared to 1 fully stacked barrage in shadowlands. That’s why we want to squeeze in 2 Arcane Barrages inside the Touch of the magi window in Dragonflight.

Defensive Usage:

As an Arcane Mage you have excellent survivability and mobility at your disposal with Slipstream, Mirror Images, Alter Time, 2x Shimmer, Ice Block, Greater Invis (which also increases your movement speed if talented), and Prismatic Barrier.

Rotating our defensives properly can significantly increase our chance of living through high sources of incoming damage!

Note - Don’t be afraid to be aggressive with your defensive cooldowns since shifting power reduces all our CDs by 10 Seconds, while on 1 minute CD.

For example, using Ice block, then shifting power on CD every time it’s available will bring Ice Block to roughly a 3 minutes CD instead of 4 minutes.