Hi, I'm s1qs, I’ve been playing the game actively for 10 years, and have been maining a mage for 6 years. I’ve been raiding at a high level for the past four years, where I've been playing mostly in Reason. I’ve been an officer for multiple guilds in the past and that's also my role right now in Method.
I have also written the arcane guide which you can check out here.
What has changed
Strengths of the spec
- Great single target
- Uncapped AoE (although not really meaningful for raiding)
- Very bursty damage profile, both on single target and AoE.
- Cookie cutter build for every single scenario (Covenant, soulbind, conduits, stats, etc).
- Good Pi/Fae guardians/conquerors banner target, Fire mage has a very high damage ceiling if you can gain any of these buffs.
- Very durable.
- Great at moving (specially when there's mobs below 30% HP)
- 1 minute cooldowns are insanely overpowered for raid scenarios, and in castle nathria it gives a very clear advantage on most bosses
- Very low consistent damage
- Very poor damage if your having to hold DPS
- Poor target swapping
- Passive cleave outside of combustion is dead
- Long combustion cooldown on AoE
- If you can’t hit the boss you can’t reduce combustion cooldown
- Requires mobs to live for long during combustion to have any meaningful passive cleave
- The biggest change is how Fire Mage's mastery works. In Shadowlands, ignite spreading is not a part of Mastery. Instead, you have to use Phoenix Flames in order to spread it.
- Removal of corruption also means ignite isn’t your top damage by a mile anymore, however still a meaningful portion, specially on ST and on any low target count cleave.
- Combustion now also drops rune of power, which smoothens the rotation quite a bit.
Focus Magic - Don't play this talent. However you can trade Focus magic with another mage buddy to give each other 5% crit, which adds up to 10% when your buddy crits, which should have 100% uptime
Mirror Image - Not a new spell, however, reworked into a defensive baseline cooldown. Arcane, in particular, had a lot of defensive cooldowns already and with images being a defensive cooldown now, you will survive most raid encounters without an issue. This spell also drops aggro, as the mobs will hit the images until they all dissipate.
Alter Time - Like images, this spell was changed, however, re-introduced as a new baseline addition. Alter Time is incredibly overpowered defensively. There have been so many occasions during testing that this spell has been useful. For me the biggest use of Alter Time was actually the healing, however, I’ve also used it in some encounters for movement.