FEEDBACK: Mage Class Changes


Primary Issue: Talents feel too similar from BFA

Lv 15 Row

Firestarter: Still feels way too niche that it won’t get used much. The value on it is just significantly worse than Searing Touch. It’s the same issue we ran into with BFA.

Pyromaniac: Kinda the same situation as Firestarter, the random element from it just doesn’t add much to the table when you can have a reliable execute from Scorch. Random elements are never fun when paired with 2 reliable options.

Searing Touch: Still feels very strong compared to other options in this row. Having an execute is just a huge value overall. Unless there’s encounters where a boss is above 91% for a prolonged period of time like Ashvane.

Lv 30 Row

Incanter’s Flow: Still feels very lackluster compared to Rune of Power. The primary issue is that Fire and Arcane benefits so much from burst that having 40% during it is just so much better. It’s still optimal for Frost, but only because Frost doesn’t have the same burst window as Fire/Arcane.

Focus Magic: It’s nice to see the return of Focus Magic, but I think this is a poor row to have it in. The value behind Incanter’s Flow(Frost) and Rune of Power(Fire/Arcane) is just massive compared to 5% crit for someone else and even if the buff had 100% uptime for the Mage the value just isn’t there compared to the others. I think this would do much better in the first row and moving Searing Touch here(and figuring out something else for Arcane/Frost).

Rune of Power: Still the same bursty spell that heavily benefits Combustion and Arcane Power.

Lv 35 Row

Flame On: Such a good talent since Fire Blast isn’t on the GCD and helps so much to creating Hot Streaks.

Alexstrasza’s Fury: I really loved when I saw this making a comeback from Legion moving into BFA. I’m just really sad that it has no use. It’s a very weak talent because it doesn’t have use.

Phoenix Flames: Same as Alexstrasza’s Fury, I was really happy to see this making a return. I’m just really sad that there’s still no value for it compared to Flame On.

Lv 45 Row

Flame Patch: It’s still a really good M+ talent for Fort weeks, otherwise not very good.

Conflagration: Being passive adds a lot of value to this because you’re trying to pump out Pyroblasts. Using the GCD on Living Bomb is frequntly not worthwile.

Living Bomb: This is still very niche. It’s used sometimes, but not really often enough I feel.

Lv 50 Row

Kindling: Even after the buff, it still feels kinda weird to use. I’m not sure if it’s better overall or not, but it just feels weird compared to the other options.

Pyroclasm: Feels better after the buff in terms of damage. The primary issue with Pyroclasm is the long cast time on Pyroblast and not regularly being able to stand still for 3.5+ seconds(especially in more recent encounter designs).

Meteor: Meteor still feels so good being Instant. It’s not best single target on paper, but it’s still best single target in practice without huge unreasonable amounts of Haste.


I might be weird here but I might enjoy using ROP if it somehow didn’t stack with the other cooldowns. Planning out when you can stay in one place 10 seconds is significantly challenging and interesting on its own; slamming everything you’ve got into a single burst window that’s disastrous if you mess up is just too much stress. Plus managing all the GCDs is annoying!

Anyway, settling on Arcane is my main spec, but I really do not like Touch of the Magi. It feels like it’s just designed to be combo’d around a huge burst window and doesn’t actually do all that much if you try to use it any other way. I’d honestly be happier with just a flat damage bomb that hits hard on a cooldown. Arcane is lacking in effective AOE options and this more seems to just be a weird cleave spell and yet another thing to slot into the almighty burst window. I’d rather have Flamestrike or Blizzard 100%, although I’ve said that before. :smiley:


FIRE : I found that, the new change to fireblast being your “spread aoe” button, entirely ruins the spec. It either needs to go back to previous way of spreading dots, or we need a new baseline ability that just spreads our dots. Having to save a fireblast in my BURST ROTATION during combustion is basically the death knell of the spec to me. Make phoenix flames baseline and have it be the spreading button(possible fix?).

FROST : Frost looks to be frickin awesome in SL. However there is a bug ( i hope its a bug) with how the new brain freeze works. I LOVE THE IDEA, its a good fix, however all my spells are activating the stacks…like ele water bolt…or frozen orb ticks…basically rendering brain freeze proc and stacks useless. Needs fixing ASAP.

Arcane : Arcane still blasts single target like a beast. I don’t play arcane at all but it seems like its well put together, no bugs that i could immediately find.


Another addition now that I have done much more playing, including other classes…
Mage damage is horrendously low.

While I know that balancing typically comes towards the end, it still needs to be called out. During my initial playthroughs of content, I just assumed it was the typical feeling of less power that comes with worse gear at the start of an expansion. After having played many other classes on the alpha, it’s readily apparent that’s not the only problem. I was having a nearly identical time-to-kill mobs with healing specs (like Disc) as I was for mage. It was even more clear in running Torghast being scaled up to max level, where gear disparities from leveling have been scaled out.

The entire fantasy of mage is the “glass cannon.” An immobile, quick to die, spec that outputs ridiculous amounts of damage. Damage is it’s only purpose as it doesn’t bring any additional utility that can’t be gained elsewhere. As of right now, the immobile and quick to die parts still remain,…but there is barely a tickle of damage output relative to other classes.

The only time that damage output feels significant relative to other classes is during those times when all DPS cooldowns have been activated. It’s a huge problem for a purely DPS class to only have relevant DPS output with a cooldown active.



I still find the ramp up for Arcane to still feel ponderously slow. It is not a good feel for an enemy to fall before you can even get your set up sequence done.

Charged Up: This talent feels SO vital that it becomes a non-choice usually. As such, it feels like it should honestly be a baseline spell. Perhaps Arcane Empowerment could be moved from the PVP talents to take its place?

Touch of the Magi: A proposal I would make for this is give this spell a slight tweak where it is instant cast while you have four arcane charges.

Mark of Aluneth: Having Arcane Explosion made universal is not so good feeling when other specs kept their AoE exclusive. One idea that occurred to me is to bring back an iteration of Mark of Aluneth. It was a pretty unique spell too from its casting animation to the mix of an DoT and AoE.

Displacement: Where did it go? there is still a PVP talent referencing it so… yeah. The ability to be really slippery always felt like an incredibly arcane mage thing, and sort of helped offset how slow their ramp up time tends to be.

Bonus points if Displacement became baked INTO blink so that one spell became the other during the displacement window. I am always happy to save a button spot, particularly with all the unpruning.

Shimmer: I am ok with this spell getting nerfed, as it is in trade for Alter Time. Not having two charges makes it feel a lot less mandatory.

Alter Time: It feels like Arcane Mages should have a reduced cooldown on this of say 45 seconds? Messing with time is like their thing. they literally have a talent named Time Anomaly and a pvp talent named Temporal Shield.

Time Anomaly: Speaking of, just as an idea, it would be really cool if Time Anomaly had a chance to spit out Mirror Images of you for 10 seconds. Just plays into that “mucking about with time for fun and profit and SUDDENLY THERE ARE FOUR OF ME FOR A MOMENT” vibe.


I like your take on Arcane being (proto-) time mages in a sense. Something I’ve been mulling over for arcane would be to get a version of the Anima power in Torghast for upgraded mirror images. As-is the damage boost would probably be too much for non-Tower, but I’d imagine that could be tweaked. Tying it in with Time would be some quality flavor for it though.

I think that would also fit in with the overall theme of mages having access to other schools, but being better at the one they spec into. Perhaps for Arcane we’d get “Temporal Clones” instead of Mirror Images. Think: the future/past you quests in Dragonblight w/Chromie. You are pulling other temporal “aspects” of yourself in rather than making mindless copies - like your suggestion for Time Anomaly but with a bit more. Unless it was terrible, I would totally take that talent just for the sheer fun of it.

Another flavor/lore-ish idea connecting arcane mages more to time is that we still have that slipper dragon aspect Nozdormu floating about some-when - and not a part of the ones empowering the HoA in BfA. Perhaps he is starting to work w/arcane mages in preparation for something coming. But I’m digressing. Mostly: yes please on more time flavor/effects to arcane.

And for some fun in the tower: mechagnome arcane mage, pop racial and intelligent mirror images - when you have a mob pack. Total. Frozen. Carnage.


Going to add some more thoughts here on Arcane (and mage in general a bit) at a more mechanical level.

Mage pays a price for movement.

I’m OK with that, generally, as it makes sense. However, IMO the price is too high and the 8.x shimmer shows it. One thing I’ve kept in mind over many years of game design is that if you have a spell, power, or ability that is a must have for pretty much everyone - you have something broken. Either the capability is broken or something in the class/base is broken.

In this case, it isn’t that shimmer was broken but that the core class mechanics are. We all take shimmer because we basically have to. Why do we have to? Because the encounters force us to. Every few GCDs you have to move because Blizzard loves to “put stuff on the ground to kill you” (you can see this even in Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3) as their means of making encounters “more difficult”. This automatically, and unavoidably, adds a tremendous cost to any class that takes a penalty for movement.

To account for that either you need less forced movement, or the movement penalty needs to be lower. Displacement/Shimmer being mandatory exposed that problem and somewhat accounted for it by reducing the cost of it. But it also exposes the other part of the problem - especially for arcane.

This is where arcane’s additional penalty comes in: the ramp up. Arcane pays a heavy price for its DPS in the sheer number of non-damage (or low-damage) GCDs needed to get into stride. On its own that may be a reasonable price to pay. However, what we have is a combination of the two and this gets to be too high as a result.

With arcane you have to spend several GCDs to get to do decent to good damage. Now add into that the need to move every 2-3 or so and you can see the penalties stack up. For a mage, especially an Arcane one, movement is functionally a longer GCD; the longer you need to move, the longer that GCD is.

This needs to be taken into account to make Arcane a better, as in more fun but still effective, class. Consider what we can do while moving: Arcane Barrage and maybe a supernova. The former means going back through the build up - thus paying the GCD price again, and the latter is on a longer CD and has little damage/effect. So neither of these are a reasonable expectation - especially the former.

This is where the encounter people and the class people need to coordinate better. If I have to move every few seconds because fire bad, and I have to spend longer than that building up, and I lose significant DPS while moving, I’m not having a good time. It is like RNG on top of RNG on top of RNG - moderation is needed. Especially when encounters have “move around for many GCDs” baked into them.

If we stick to the Arcane being a form of chronomancy, it would make sense that some of Arcane’s features involve getting around that using some form of temporal interaction. Shimmer taking blink off of the GCD and usable while casting demonstrates this problem and why we needed it and have such a problem with it going away it “solved” (to some extent) that confluence of problems.

Now the good thing about Arcane Blast is that the buildup isn’t per-target but on the caster. This is especially good for trash/solo adventures. The bad thing is that it takes 3-4 casts to really kick in and that you have to stand still to cast it. I’m pretty much OK with that, really. I have no problem with the increase in mana cost either. In fact, this may be why I love having mana gem back. Using a mana gem is something I can do while moving. It doesn’t do damage but delays needing to use Evocation which lets me DPS more.

Arcane Missiles, however, is a bit of an issue. I think a good change to it would be to leave it channeled, but not have movement break it. You have to stand still to start the missiles, but having to move wouldn’t cut it short. If we didn’t have to move so much then perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad.

Now for blink. First lets acknowledge that blink is basically broken. We’ve all had it happen: blink to get away and find you “blinked forward” approximately one step. WoW isn’t the only place Blizz has this problem (exactly the same one in D3), but it is a problem. Two charges on blink felt to me like “yeah we know it doesn’t work a lot of the time so lets give you another chance for it to fail to account for it”.

So how can we make that better - short of fixing the base problem there? Check distance blinked and refund the charge/reset cooldown if you blink less than X distance. With that we can then let blink be what it should be - making movement less crippling for arcane mages. Make it being off GCD core. not necessarily at low levels perhaps - maybe one of the “level rewards” is a passive in the arcane leveling progression along the lines of “Blink becomes Spatio-Temporal Warp, removing it from the GCD and doesn’t interrupt casting”. The sample name here applies a time based theme for flavor.

While that doesn’t address prep-time, it can help significantly with the GCD+Move penalty stack. A “more intelligent” Mirror Image version like I mentioned in my previous response could soften the movement penalty a bit more - you could use it to time some DPS maintenance around move-heavy phases and/or use them at will if you know you don’t need to.

On that note, here is an idea I just had for “Temporal Clones”: A talent line for arcanes that lets you select the spec for them. More of an alternate timeline idea where you pull in “clones” that specced into Frost or Fire to give you some added functionality, such as Frost clones throwing frostbolt for 1-2 targets and blizzard if >2. That could temporarily (eheh) give some AoE capability to arcane. Selecting an alternate arcane timeline for arcane would require a bit of thought.

Hmm, perhaps your arcane alternates’ Arcane Blast count as being cast by you in terms of ramping up. For example during movement you might throw the barrage, dropping your blast stack and pop clones which then cast blast giving you three stacks back. That might be interesting.

Anyway, this post is plenty long already and my stomach is demanding some breakfast, so I’ll close it here and think some more on that last bit while making and eating breakfast. :wink:


So, just watched Preach’s interview, and while I know it was just being used as an example;
Do not take away mirror images again! Also, please do not take away it’s damage component, that just turns it into the racial ability of Mechagnomes. Plus, the most fun Anima powers in Torghast are related to Mirror Images.

Current starting button rotation for Arcane in alpha;
Mirror Images, Charged Up, Rune of Power, Arcane Power, Covenant Ability, Touch of the Magi, Presence of Mind - begin rotation.

2-ish of those spells have a cast time, making it ~10 seconds of prep time just to start DPS.

So, the arcane ramp up issue is a major problem, but the actual issues lie elswhere;

  • Touch of the Magi - This spell is unfocused in it’s purpose. It’s AOE/cleave and single target dps cooldown all in one. The easiest solution is to remove the main target damage component so that it only serves a purpose and is worth a button press in AOE/cleave situations.
  • Rune of Power - As mentioned several times in this thread, this talent is too good and is essentially required of Arcane. This could be fixed with tuning, or replacing the talent.
  • Charged Up - Due to the built in ramp up of the spec with arcane charges, this talent essentially becomes required as well. The best fix here is to make this baseline for the spec and give a new talent. Especially since it doesn’t fit the theme of the talent tier on which it resides, the other 2 are AOE based talents.

EDIT: Left covenant ability out of opening rotation, so added that in and added to pre-cast time to start DPS rotation. Your chosen covenant will change whether this is needed…but it’s best to consider worst case scenarios.


Howdy folks.

Before I start, I want to state that I am happy with most of the changes, especially in Frost and Arcane. I am excited to see where further development goes, especially with Frost, which has the most build variety and possibilities in my opinion.


Not much to say here as there has not been a lot of change with this spec’s playstyle, priorities, or talent choices. Mirror Image being baseline is a fun new cd to have, especially as it lines up with Combustion, but I feel most mages coming from BFA looking to play fire in Shadowlands are going to be disappointed by the sudden drop in power as they lose Font, Lucid and Hyper-Thread bracers. Baseline phoenix flames in my opinion would be the best fix in easing the general populace into Shadowlands as it would smooth out combustion periods, give them an extra cleave tool and would be a better candidate for Ignite spreader then Fire blast would be (I press Fire blast well over 100 times in the course of a 10 minute fight or sim, I feel moving the ignite spreading mechanic to an ability I’m encouraged to hit every time I get a crit makes the change fairly redundant and only gives me a marginal increase of control over how I use my ignites. Some other players have suggested moving it to Flamestrike instead, which wouldn’t be bad either.)


I can see just by skimming this thread that most people have already given their feedback and are most excited for Arcane, so I will keep it brief and try to echo my own personal opinions and experience with the spec. Firstly, I feel the set up phase for every Arcane Power is far too long and far too prone to interrupting effects that just ruins the experience for the Arcane Mage. Currently, the only major change I think would be needed to fix this would be removing the cast time on Touch of the Magi. You have already limited its ability to be spammed by putting it on a 45 second cd, the cast time is just redundant at this point. Other then that, I feel Arcane will still hit its checkmarks of being a powerful single target burst spec that’ll greatly rewards players juggling their resources, CDs, positioning and mechanics properly.


I really enjoy the changes to Winter’s Chill. Not only does it give the Frost Mage an additional Ice Lance to shatter (effectively making Double Ice Lance the norm and not an unintended gameplay mechanic.) as well as opening up design space for other effects, like a return of Frozen Veins in some capacity or a talent or Torghast upgrade that makes Blizzard consume Winter’s Chill targets, but cause it to shatter in a similar vein to Ice Lance or to gain some additional effect, like reducing Frozen Orb’s CD by 2.5s per crit instead of .5s.

That said, I would ask that a fuller explanation of the effect be printed into the spell book to clear up confusion on how it works. When I initially logged in and started playing with it, I was noticing that charges were being taken by passive damage spells like Icicles and the Water Elemental’s waterbolt. While looking through the spell book, I had no way of knowing if this was intentional or an bug since the actual listing for Winter’s Chill is just a footnote in Brain Freeze’s description (Later builds would show this to be unintended, but you get the idea.)



To beat the dead horse in the room, I did feel that Shimmer was overturned, but I feel its current state is way too under tuned, especially in Fire and Arcane as they have no movement related alternatives. In fact, Arcane saw a nerf to its movement with Displacement being removed and turned into an ability that every mage gets at level 58. I am not going to sit here and tell you that Shimmer was balanced among the other options in that talent row because it wasn’t. It was the clear choice for Fire, the superior choice for Frost and a contender for Arcane. I agree that changes need to be made to the talent, but I feel that nerfing it this hard is just going to make mages less effective in fights that require players to move long distances or short distances in rapid succession. I think a good middle ground would be to keep the effects the same but reduce the CD to 12 seconds instead. Any talent taken should feel like a buff and right now, Shimmer feels like a nerf to take.

Focus Magic

The talent is far too weak in its current state to see play. 5% crit can’t really compete with a 40% damage buff from Rune or the 5-20% static buff from Incanters. A change to the effect might be a flat damage buff that stacks up to 5-10 stacks without resetting duration could be a change to consider over a flat numbers change, especially when paired with heavy dot classes like Shadow Priests or when paired with classes that guarantee crit strikes like Fury Warrior or another Fire Mage. (I.E. Give mages a choice that changes based on raid composition or on fight style. Its a talent already designed for group play so swapping it to play into that style could be a fun and interesting topic to explore.) I understand that the point of the talent is to invoke the spirit of the original talent, but I feel the original would be far too weak to make an impact against both Rune of Power and Incanter’s Flow.


Probably not the best place to post this, but I decided to try something different this time around and picked up Arcane Mage. I’m normally a melee guy, but for the sake of testing I figured this would be a good change of pace.

That said, I don’t know what I’m doing. Damn near EVERYTHING kills me in Revendreth (sp?). I can’t last more than one encounter and get smashed by quest mobs consistently. I’ve racked up so many deaths, it’s pretty funny at this point. Not sure what I’m supposed to be doing to survive. If I Frost Nova things to freeze them in place, they break out and charge me. Which kinda defeats the purpose of getting away. I try to pop Prismatic Barrier whenever it’s up so I can at least have some sort of defense, but that goes away so fast.

Reading through this thread, folks are saying things are “easy”, so I’m guessing I’m doing something wrong. Any pointers, or is there something I should be doing to keep from getting smashed all of the time?



Real quick (cuz yeah there are better places):

Frost nova is broken by damage, so it is best used by Arcane as a means to get more distance out of a blink away.

As Arcane you basically (yes, fellow Arcanites I am simplifying here) you want to first remember you want range. Get range, and rely heavily on Arcane Blast with missiles on clearcasting procs. Keep distance.

Using Slow is kind of mixed. I don’t recall the name but while learning feel free to select the talent that makes missiles slow them as well. Arcane isn’t terribly good at AoE in my experience so I play a more sniper-like style as arcane. Try to pick off mobs 1 by one or in pairs - or at least try to not pull a pack until you’re more experienced. Oh and I prefer to not pop barrier on CD, but pop it when I’m about to get meleed by something that still has a good health pool and I can’t nova+blink+slow away.

Finally, while learning feel free to polymorph a mob and attack the other one or two. Polymorph won’t pull the others and it reduces the target count to give you some breathing room.


We want to make Ignite spread something the player has agency over, and first experimented with the past system of making Fire Blast spread it. However, because of the importance of using Fire Blast for Hot Streak very frequently, we’ve seen feedback that this creates a lot of tension and still makes it difficult to control when you and don’t want Ignite to spread.

In the next alpha build, we’re going to try letting Phoenix Flames fill this role, as a baseline spell for Fire Mages. This gives Phoenix Flames a unique function and identity as a core spell, as well as allowing for more choice over when to spread Ignite. If we continue with the change, we’ll look into a new talent to replace Phoenix Flames in upcoming builds.


The move of the spread mechanic from FB to PF is a step in the right direction, and appreciated. However as it stands now, it is very difficult to generate a large enough ignite to make spreading feel worth it (powerful).

To assist in in the ignite generation, would it be possible to take Phoenix Flames, and either take it off the GCD, or put it on a reduced GCD? Trying to chain pyros within the combust window using flames is impossible (GCD triggers on both the instant pyro, and the PF cast devouring 2+ seconds PER pyro striking the target in the combust window) This feels… real bad.

A side effect of this is locking the mage into taking meteor again just to get the extra large-ish hit on the ignite stack. The other two talents will again go unused.

Please keep playing fire internally, I would love for this to be my go to spec on day one as a 15 year fire mage.

Thanks, and we will keep testing!


Repost from EU forums on behalf of Malon: (

A little background: I’ve played a Mage since Classic, been writing guides about the class on Wowhead since MoP and am a moderator over at Altered Time, the Mage Discord server.

Here I’ll begin by going over some of the class-wide changes and my thoughts on it, then move on to my notes and a wishlist for each spec. This post is extremely long, but that’s because I am passionate about both this class and the game. I’ve added a TLDR summary to each section for easier reading.

Class-wide changes/additions


  • Alter Time is not an adequate replacement for Displacement for Arcane
  • Mirror Image should be a utility cooldown, not a DPS one
  • The loss of Shimmer’s second charge should be compensated with a lower cooldown
  • Focus Magic overlaps with the role of Incanter’s Flow and is only suitable for Frost.

Alter Time

Great to have it back; I am, perhaps, in the minority as I always preferred the WoD version (a simple mobility/survivability spell) over the MoP one (a damage cooldown). However, taking Displacement away from Arcane to give Alter Time back to all specs, at the same time as Shimmer is reduced to one charge, is a significant hit to Mage mobility, and Arcane’s in particular. The spell should really be tweaked for that spec, at least, to refund Blink/Shimmer’s cooldown - they are the masters of time and space, after all.

Mirror Image

As glad as I am to see the spell return to the base kit (it was never a competitive choice against the other options), MI on the alpha is not an interesting button to press; it’s simply ‘Do a bit more passive damage for 40 seconds’. By the end of Mists - the last time the spell was a baseline ability, rather than a talent - Mages were using this as a threat-drop or tool to help with soloing content, but it wasn’t a regular part of a damage rotation; if the spell remains as-is (uninteractive, simply casting Fireball/Frostbolt/Arcane Blast), this may be the route Blizzard should pursue for it.

Fire/Frost Ward

Simply a case of the unpruning going too far, these are not iconic abilities and I fail to see why they’re making a return. A tuned (for example raid-wide) version of Dampen and/or Amplify Magic would be much more welcome.


It certainly needed a nerf; the spell has been a must-pick for all specs since day one of Legion. However, dropping it to one charge while retaining the five-second increased cooldown on Blink is just…bad, to the point where picking the talent on the alpha genuinely feels like you’re choosing to downgrade Blink. Considering the insane mobility of other specs, especially melee classes, as well as Blink’s ongoing bugginess (failing at terrain changes like slopes, stairs and doorways), we will feel this in both PvE and PvP.

Focus Magic

This spell fills too similar a niche to Incanter’s Flow, favouring a flat damage curve. That immediately makes it near-useless for Arcane and Fire, both of which are cooldown-based and simply won’t sacrifice Rune of Power to take a minor crit buff (which Fire doesn’t care about, anyway). Frost, of course, takes Incanter’s Flow and it’s hard to see Focus Magic out-performing that unless the numbers are dramatically tweaked. This is the same problem Mirror Image had, except it encroached on Rune’s territory instead of Incanter’s.

To differentiate it, the Mirror Image/Focus Magic talent spot should be significantly different to ‘short cooldown burst spell’ or ‘passive damage increase’, such as a burst spell with a long cooldown.



  • Only the Kyrian Covenant works well in all content for all specs
  • Radiant Spark has issues with multiple projectile spells and travel times
  • Mirrors of Torment is unusable in PvE, but Venthyr have the best Signature ability (a teleport)
  • Deathborne is powerful for Arcane but loses out for Fire and Frost
  • Shifting Power is immobile, provides little cooldown reduction and needs to be cast too frequently, taking away from the class rotation.

Note that all of the below said with the realisation that we haven’t seen the legendary items, Soulbinds, etc., but weaknesses need picking up early on and I don’t believe that using one system to fix the flaws of another is healthy.

This may be grass-is-always-greener syndrome, but Mages really seem to have been given the short end of the stick when it comes to Covenants, with low damage, awkward or flat-out pointless abilities. Preach said it best, in his video about the Night Fae: “Poor Mages - every time we get to them, I feel bad.” Let me explain:

Radiant Spark (Kyrian)

This is a flat damage increase, and is probably the one most players will end up taking as it just works in all situations (which makes it unfortunate that the Kyrian Signature Ability is by far the weakest compared to the shields, movement speed increases and teleports of the other Covenants). The low cooldown is great and the damage increase is of course useful. The issue comes with spells that are treated as separate hits: things like Flurry and Arcane Missiles consume multiple stacks, and spells with different travel times (Ice Lance travels faster than Glacial Spike; Fire Blast is instant and hits before Pyroblast) also interfere with the debuff. That makes it awkward to play ‘correctly’ and line up your biggest damage spell with the fourth stack.

Mirrors of Torment (Venthyr)

This spell will almost never get its full value in PvE, as NPCs rarely cast frequently enough to consume all three stacks, plus you generally want to be interrupting their spells anyway. The cast speed slow effect, while useful, makes proccing the root + silence at the end even less likely. In addition it appears to just simply not work on most PvE bosses, and in PvP begs to be dispelled.

Deathborne (Necrolord)

Another contender for the default option, this ability has the advantage of having a use in cleave situations, although the cooldown is much longer than Radiant Spark. In addition, Fireball and Frostbolt don’t deal a huge amount of damage anyway, so the Necrolord Covenant will be less attractive for these specs than it is for Arcane - which, again, pushes all Mages towards Kyrian.

Shifting Power (Night Fae)

Aesthetically this is by far the best-looking Covenant ability, but that’s where the attraction ends. Being forced into melee range is traditionally unhealthy for casters (we’re treated as valid targets for ranged mechanics no matter where we stand), and standing still for six seconds while the spell channels is even worse. Coupled with the fact that it only ticks every 1.5 seconds (so four instances of damage/cooldown reduction), and the cost of interrupting the spell becomes even worse. On top of all that, it’s only three seconds of CDR with each tick, so just 12 seconds per full channel. With a 45-second base cooldown, that is a LOT of channelling to make Shifting Power worthwhile.




  • Arcane has between nine and 15 seconds of set-up time before dealing damage; cooldowns should be removed/taken off the global cooldown/combined to address this
  • The spec lacks cleave, but Touch of the Magi could fill this niche with appropriate tuning
  • Mobility is a big issue and Arcane needs an adequate replacement for Displacement, which Alter Time is not.

Arcane’s burn/conserve rotation has seen some changes going into Shadowlands, specifically with the doubling of Arcane Power’s cooldown and the addition of Touch of the Magi as a new base spell. This means one big burn every three minutes, and smaller burn phases every 45 seconds. It also reduces the power of the Overpowered talent, which is welcome. However, the spec still has the glaring weaknesses that have prevented it from being mainstream throughout BfA.


The biggest issue with Arcane on the alpha is its set-up time. The spec has always been slow to start, with the need to build four Arcane Charges before it can enter the burn phase - the Charged Up talent addresses this and is a must-pick in most raiding environments. However, even with Charged Up there are now fully six global cooldowns - nine seconds - of doing nothing except casting buffs before starting to deal damage, or around 15 seconds without Charged Up. That is: Charged Up/Arcane Blast x 4; Mirror Image; Covenant ability (if Kyrian or Necrolord); Touch of the Magi; Rune of Power; and Arcane Power. The last four of those are also only active for a short time, so some - maybe most - of the duration will be wasted while casting additional buffs.

Moving Mirror Image to be a utility cooldown instead of a DPS one, taking some spells off the global cooldown (Touch of the Magi and/or Arcane Power would be the top picks) or combining some (like Charged Up and Touch of the Magi, which have similar cooldowns of 40/45 seconds) would go some way towards alleviating this problem - but is at best a sticking plaster.

I can’t stress enough how bad it feels to play with all of these buffs and cooldowns on the alpha. The spec drags behind others, and most mobs are half dead by the time you can actually start doing damage.


Of the three Mage specs, Arcane has always held the crown for the highest theoretical single target damage (movement is a limiter, but that’s a later discussion). However, where it really falls down is in its cleave damage, meaning passive damage executed as part of the single target rotation. Because very few fights these days are pure single target, cleave is an important feature for every damage spec. Frost has Splitting Ice and Frozen Orb, while Fire spreads Ignite (passively for now, every time it hits Phoenix Flames in Shadowlands). The only cleave damage Arcane has is Arcane Barrage, and while it hits hard the need to cast it with four Arcane Charges massively limits the number it is possible to cast, even using Arcane Orb. Consuming your Charges in this way is also hugely disruptive to your single target rotation.

Touch of the Magi could be a fantastic way to give Arcane cleave potential using the spec’s strong single target burst, but the tuning is currently well off.

The issue is that the splash damage from Touch is far, far lower than the damage the main target takes, and falls even further with more targets (the formula is ‘100% damage divided by [square root of mob count]’, so 57% splash damage to three (total) targets, 50% to four targets, 44% to five targets, etc. This was confirmed with testing). It’s far from a reliable or high-damage cleave tool, especially considering its limitations in needing to be cast on a mob that will live for the full eight seconds to get the maximum benefit; although that might also be a hindrance if the pack needs to die quickly. Still, we’ll accept that as a limitation of the spell as it’s currently designed for now.

But…what if we don’t accept it? Let’s look at a possible redesign of Touch: still a debuff cast manually on a mob, but instead it acts more like Prophecy of Fear ( from WoD, exploding for damage each time the Mage hits the target. This design gives Arcane some on-demand ranged AoE and cleave, without needing to worry about the target or other mobs dying before the effect activates.


Of all the Mage specs, Arcane loses the most DPS from movement as all of its damage (barring the non-spammable Arcane Barrage) comes from hard-casts. Live Shimmer, with Displacement, partly counteracts this weakness over long distances, although micro-movement (moving out of a void zone, for example) is still painful. There’s a reason all the top Mage logs on Shad’har - the only pure single target fight in Ny’alotha - are Fire, not Arcane.

The nerfing of Shimmer to one charge and the (long overdue) reversion of Clearcasting to stack increases the viability of the Slipstream talent, which is welcome. However, this leaves Arcane with the opposite issue: long-range movement. Alter Time is not a valid replacement for Displacement; in fact, it feels like the other specs are gaining something while Arcane is losing power. Lowering Alter Time’s cooldown for Arcane, having it refund Blink’s cooldown, or both, would be very welcome - again, masters of time and space.



  • Arcane needs a reliable ranged AoE ability to both remain safe in raids and avoid dropping mechanics on melee players.

There’s little to be said here; Arcane has always been forced into melee range to AoE; another element that has limited the spec in raids. While Blizzard, Frozen Orb and Flamestrike can be cast safely from range, Arcane needs to position to avoid melee mechanics while also being a valid target for ranged mechanics, which often means they are simply not allowed near the melee pile.

The addition of Touch of the Magi again goes some way towards addressing this, and gaining mana from Arcane Barrage (a Shadowlands levelling perk) is a great bonus; but for years Arcane has been punished for trying to AoE, and that doesn’t appear to be set to change in Shadowlands. If nothing else, the return of the larger range on Arcane Explosion that was present in Legion would be welcome.



  • The new Enlightened talent emphasises remaining at high mana levels, which impacts talent choice in the rest of the tree.
  • Dead talents like Mana Shield, Supernova and Nether Tempest remain.

Amplification’s change to fire two additional missiles, and Clearcasting stacking three times instead of once, will really increase the power of Arcane Missiles. Whether it will be enough to take away from Rule of Threes - a major conserve tool - remains to be seen. The new Enlightened talent makes conserving at high mana even more important, so it’s unlikely at current tuning.

Mana Shield’s buff is nice but the talent will still rarely be used in competitive PvE. Movement is just too important for the talent to compete with Slipstream or Shimmer.

On our 45 tier, Arcane is locked into Rune of Power. As mentioned above, Focus Magic and Incanter’s Flow do not fit Arcane’s burn-conserve playstyle; especially now that Touch of the Magi encourages a burn every 45 seconds - the exact same as Rune of Power’s cooldown.

Resonance remains a great AoE talent while Charged Up is the go-to for a single target, and Supernova is still underpowered. The latter has some utility in Mythic+ but is rarely, if ever, worth the opportunity cost of missing one of the other options on this row.

The 75 tier has little impact on PvE, but all three talents are usable in different situations.

The 90 tier has a new problem. In BfA, in common with the 60 tier, it forced a(nother) choice between single-target (Touch of the Magi) and AoE (Reverberate), with Nether Tempest as the trailing third option. Thankfully Enlightened, replacing Touch of the Magi, increases all damage done, so while Reverberate might be stronger in AoE, Arcane Mages won’t feel like they have a dead talent if called on to attack multiple targets. The issue is that, because Enlightened is strong and fits all situations, other more niche talents will just not be chosen. It also encourages playing at high (above 70%) mana unless burning, which plays poorly with ⅓ of Temporal Anomaly’s effects and any level 15 talent except Rule of Threes.

At the 100 tier, the increase to Arcane Power’s cooldown has nerfed Overpowered, which was really necessary; it was always the best choice. With that we may see more choice in this tier, which is very welcome. However, as mentioned above, with Enlightened (currently looking like the go-to choice) we want to remain above 70% mana. This means that any Evocation procs from Temporal Anomaly are going to be mostly wasted. Lowering the mana threshold on Enlightened would go some way towards addressing this, and also make Rule of Threes less important. That is a minor issue, though, and I welcome having some actual choice on these talents again.


  • Significant reduction in set-up time/global cooldowns
  • Touch of the Magi to more clearly fulfil the cleave role that damage specs need for viability in the current PvE end-game. As well as a damage buff, acting like the Prophecy of Fear trinket from Warlords of Draenor - which Arcane Missiles had a unique interaction with - would be one way of addressing this.
  • Alter Time to have an Arcane-specific component.
  • Some form of reliable ranged AoE. Touch of the Magi could fulfil this role with the above redesign.



Of course Fire in Shadowlands is going to feel very different to how it does at the end of BfA, where rental power has increased output to silly levels. The spec currently flows well but, much like Arcane, is designed around high peaks and low troughs. A single fluffed Combustion can be the difference between success and failure. Having lost much of that rental power (Memory of Lucid Dreams, Hyperthread Wristwraps, etc), this would be a good time to increase Fire’s damage at a base level.



  • Fire has no effective burst AoE against low health enemies.
  • Manual Ignite spread was tried and failed in Warlords of Draenor; limiting it to eight targets is enough.

AoE has, ironically, been a problem for Fire for several expansions. There are no easily spammable spells like Blizzard + Frozen Orb, or Arcane Explosion + Barrage. Rather, Fire’s AoE ability comes from spreading a big Ignite, but that requires having a single large target to build and spread the Ignite from; it only looks good now because we have the tools to create burst windows to build that massive Ignite. Without that, Fire doesn’t have the tools to cope in its base kit, and this is very obvious in low-keystone-level dungeons or when facing many small mobs.

Another issue, which Blizzard addressed while I was writing this post (thanks!), was in using Fireblast to spread Ignite. That functionality is now on Phoenix Flames, which is an excellent change. However, the spell should be changed so it does not interact with Hot Streak/Heating Up , otherwise we’ll face the same issue (using it during Combustion, rather than for spreading Ignite) that we did with Fireblast. An adjustment to its travel speed/spreading Ignite on cast rather than impact/being off the global cooldown would also be welcome. As it is, we lose a minimum of two Ignite ticks before Phoenix Flames hits and spreads the DoT.

In addition, manual Ignite spread enabled what came to be called ‘tick compression’ in WoD (see here ). How will this be avoided in Shadowlands?



  • Fireblast is too important to the rotation to give up Flame On.
  • Flame Patch still encourages hard-casting Flamestrike; perhaps it should only apply to those cast using Hot Streak.
  • Conflagration is almost irrelevant.
  • Kindling desynchs Combustion from other abilities, which plays against Fire’s cooldown-stacking playstyle.

The importance of Fireblast exacerbates the disparity in our level 60 talent tier; as it stands, no-one would consider taking anything except Flame On, although I’ll admit that we haven’t seen Phoenix Flames’ replacement yet (please god not Cinderstorm). Likewise, Rune of Power is the only competitive option in high-end PvE with the existing peak-and-trough style of play.

Further down the tree, the level 90 tier is built around AoE and, with tuning, could work; but at current levels the choice has almost no impact on a single-target encounter. Currently the damage increase from Conflagration is absolutely minimal on a single target: taking another option, even if you never cast Flamestrike/Living Bomb in a fight, is less than a 2% DPS loss. The talent needs some love.

Living Bomb could be a tool to handle Fire’s weak AoE when it can’t spread Ignite, but at current levels of tuning (without the high Mastery we have at the end of BfA) it’s not worth casting on an average-sized (4-5) pack of mobs, and until late 8.3 everyone has taken Flame Patch for dungeons. At the moment, though, Living Bomb has actually been nerfed going into Shadowlands (it deals reduced damage to secondary targets), while Flame Patch has not.

Flame Patch is a problematic talent, in that it encourages what I would consider degenerate gameplay; namely, ignoring your entire rotation to hard-cast Flamestrike against anything more than two mobs in a dungeon setting. Ideally the talent should only encourage you to spend your Hot Streaks on Flamestrike, so a simple fix would be to make it only apply to instant-cast Flamestrikes - perhaps with a small buff to compensate.

At the very end of the tree, the level 100 tier currently looks pretty balanced. Both Pyroclasm and Kindling have been buffed to compete with Meteor and that is appreciated (whether the hassle of playing Pyroclasm will be worth it in a real-world setting is a different story). That said, Kindling still has two issues: first, that it lowers the cooldown of Combustion but nothing else, which makes stacking cooldowns like Covenant abilities difficult (again, the current peak-and-trough playstyle means desynching cooldowns is not desirable); and second, that it works with all of our rotational abilities - even Phoenix Flames - except Scorch, which makes it play against Searing Touch.


  • New/different ability to spread Ignite, removing some of the rotational weight from Fireblast - FIXED WHILE WRITING THIS POST, PRAISE THE LORD
  • Flamepatch to not encourage hard-casting Flamestrike - this is not simply a BfA issue, but something seen in Legion as well.
  • Smoothing rotation by moving damage out of the burst window




  • Flurry and Winter’s Chill have issues with travel time and do not allow the Shatter combo to work effectively at either maximum or minimum ranges.
  • Fingers of Frost is still ‘munched’ (useless) with a Brain Freeze proc.
  • Frost is still stuck spamming Frostbolt without procs, and may once again drop Ice Lance from the rotation at high Mastery levels; a proposed redesign addresses both of these issues and is linked below.
  • Frozen Orb remains buggy when used in melee range.

Frost has had few changes going into Shadowlands; mechanically, the spec plays well and has a tool for most situations. Its major issue in BfA has been the degenerate gameplay of the No Ice Lance build (which will not be a thing in Shadowlands) and the range issue of the Winter’s Chill debuff.

In BfA, Brain Freeze makes Flurry apply Winter’s Chill: a very short buff allowing the next spell to act as if the target were frozen. The most common way to consume Brain Freeze is to cast a Frostbolt/Glacial Spike/Ebonbolt (Spell #1) and queue an instant Flurry immediately afterwards, followed by an Ice Lance; because of Flurry’s travel time, and the fact that it hits three times, this enables Spell #1, as well as the Ice Lance, to benefit from Winter’s Chill (‘the Shatter combo’). However, because of spell travel times standing in melee range means that - in the situation above - Spell #1 will not benefit from Winter’s Chill, as it hits before Flurry.

Winter’s Chill has had a slight redesign in Shadowlands: it now lasts six seconds and affects the next two spells to hit, enabling the double Ice Lance gameplay that first appeared in Legion. However, the melee range issue is still present, and the combo now has the same issue at maximum range - especially on large bosses like Stormwall Blockade, Immerseus and Lord Marrowgar. In these situations the third projectile from Flurry may hit before Spell #1, causing that spell to consume a stack of Winter’s Chill.

The Shatter combo is a massive part of Frost’s damage, and the inability to stand at either maximum or minimum range will have a serious impact on the spec’s DPS on fights where standing elsewhere is impossible. There have been many suggestions to change how the combo operates, most recently and -comprehensively from Norrinir and other Mages of Altered Time: . While these are significant changes, they address some core weaknesses of Frost by providing bad luck protection, future-proofing against No Ice Lance returning at high Mastery levels and emphasising the Shatter combo.

A related issue with Frost’s procs is that Brain Freeze renders Fingers of Frost - both of which interact with Ice Lance - useless and results in munching the FoF proc (because the target is already considered Frozen due to Winter’s Chill). The above proposed redesign handles this by changing Flurry to an instant-cast spell with two charges that always applies Winter’s Chill, and making Brain Freeze refund part of a Flurry; this gives players the choice of when and how to use Flurry.

Aside from the Winter’s Chill issues, Frost - although a little boring and suffering from severe repetitiveness when it fails to get procs - is otherwise well prepared for most of the challenges it faces and puts on a respectable showing in all content. An honourable mention should go to Icy Veins, though, which is both a fairly weak cooldown and doesn’t interact with the spec at all (Frost gets no additional procs or power from adding haste than ‘more casts in this time span’). The changes suggested by Norrinir et al., above, adds Flurry interaction to the spell.

Finally, a quality of life issue: when enemies are in melee range, Frozen Orb tends to either slow down too late (after having passed through most of the enemies) or not slow at all. Combined with the unreliability of the Flurry-powered Shatter combo in melee range, this makes Frost very frustrating to play whenever the player is forced into melee range. One potential solution is to use the targeting reticule to place Orb, as with the Concentrated Coldness PvP talent.


Little to say here. The Frozen Orb/Blizzard interaction works and Frost performs well in sustained AoE. Adding Frozen Orb to its Mastery is a way to keep that stat relevant when attacking groups of enemies, and is very welcome.

However, if Frost is meant to excel at two-target cleave - a stated design intent during the BfA beta - it needs some sort of two-target capability in its base kit. Currently, this comes through the Splitting Ice talent.



  • No glaring issues on live, many talents saw play in BfA thanks to the support of different Azerite traits. Without support from Soulbinds/legendaries etc, talents like Rune of Power, Thermal Void and Ray of Frost will not be used.

As with other Nova talents (Supernova/Blastwave), Ice Nova is underwhelming compared to other talents in its row, which provide much higher damage over the course of a fight. It is useful for bursting or trapping an enemy in PvP, but has little-to-no use in end-game PvE. It needs a significant buff to compete with Bone Chilling or Lonely Winter.

Nerfing Shimmer makes Ice Floes much more attractive on the 30 tier (although Frost already handles movement reasonably well thanks to its procs), but Glacial Insulation suffers from the same problem as Ice Nova: it is near-useless in PvE. If it is the ‘I’m not moving’ talent, it should do more than increase armour, as the vast majority of incoming PvE damage is not physical.

Rune of Power doesn’t line up with any of Frost’s other cooldowns and the spec has a flatter damage profile than Fire or Arcane, so it is forced into Incanter’s Flow. Focus Magic may actually have some viability here, but I’m not a fan of creating a class-wide talent for a single spec.

There are no outstanding issues with the 60 tier; all of these talents have their place. Frozen Touch could be rewritten to make it more obvious that the increase is multiplicative rather than additive. Likewise with the 75 tier and 90 tiers; each of these talents has a place, although at high Mastery levels Comet Storm falls off compared to Splitting Ice, even on a single target.

At 100, Thermal Void has fallen far from its glory days of 100% uptime in Nighthold, but found some relevance again with Orb Build in BfA. Hopefully the talent will continue to see support, perhaps through a legendary item increasing Fingers of Frost generation, in Shadowlands. Ray of Frost is simply not that interesting, simply a button you press on cooldown, while Glacial Spike actually interacts with Mastery and changes your rotation; it is difficult to beat its power for a mainstream build.


  • Fix the Shatter combo and its interaction with Flurry travel time/Winter’s Chill to work at all ranges.
  • Icy Veins to interact with spec mechanics, rather than simply being ‘Do what you always do, but faster’.
  • Perhaps a long-shot, but take lessons from the efforts of high-level theorycrafters to redesign the way Frost works. This would protect against dry streaks of no procs (bad luck protection), future-proof the spec against dropping Ice Lance and make Icy Veins work with the spec: .


Thank you for all of your continued feedback on Mage changes in Shadowlands. Below, you’ll find the latest changes in the Alpha, which includes reverting Shimmer to 2 charges, further talent tuning, and the removal of the short lived Frost and Fire Ward.

There has a been a lot of great discussion in this thread and we hope to see it continue!


  • Shimmer charge count increased to 2.
  • Shimmer cooldown Increased to 25 seconds (was 20 seconds).
    • Developers’ notes: After listening to feedback and more playtesting, we are returning both charges of Shimmer at a slightly higher cooldown cost. Our goal with the change was to bring more it inline with the other talents on the row, but in doing so, Shimmer lost a lot of its identity. If the other talents on the tier continue to underperform, we’ll look at ways we can enhance them to be more attractive options while up against Shimmer.
  • Focus Magic now also grants the caster 1% Intellect, stacking up to 8 times when their Focus Magic target critically strikes.
    • Developers’ notes: We’d like for Focus Magic to reward the caster a bit more for taking an ally friendly talent.
  • Frost and Fire Ward removed from all specs.
    • Developers’ notes: Compared to some of the other abilities, these two landed a little flat and overlapped a bit too much with each of the Barriers.

Fire Specialization

  • Alexstrasza’s Fury now also makes your next Pyroblast or Flamestrike deal 35% increased damage.
    • Developers’ notes: We’re looking to make this more competitive with the Flame On and the future Phoenix Flames replacement.

I can honestly live with that Shimmer Change and I really like that Focus Magic change as well!
The Alexstraza’s Fury could be cool as well. Looking forward to seeing some jank combinations between that, pyroclasm and rune next time I login.

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Wanted to get a ton of time in with the changes before making any comments and have so;

  1. Shimmer - Giving it back two charges jumps the power level up so that it’s the default choice again. The other choices are going to need some pumping up to complete.
  • Ice Flows is probably good enough.
  • Slipstream is close, just a bit worse due to being limited by spells being cast.
  • The shield talents make no sense on a tier with movement abilities, I realize that they are both being considered forms of mitigation, but movement is always going to be valued higher in a largely stationary class.
  • Blast Wave makes no sense at all as it’s not a form of mitigation at all
  1. Focus Magic - Nice to see changes being made, but it doesn’t go far enough at all. Rune of Power is just too strong. Being able to choose when you get your buff will always be above random procs for specs that have a “burn” phase (both fire and arcane). The current iteration might see value for frost.
  2. Phoenix Flames - Getting this back baseline is nice, and using it for spreading works a tad bit better.
  3. Alexstrasza’s Fury - I like the idea here but this is once again a talent being too powerful due to a burst phase in a spec. Flame On’s strength comes from it’s ability to allow you to build a larger ignite through a pyro chain during combustion. Plus, having to be in melee range to take advantage of Alex Fury, greatly reduces the times it could be used. I see some possible function in PvP and Mythic+ but I don’t know that either use case would be worth it over the pure power that comes from more Fire Blasts.

I figured it was just something being added later, but with transition to beta coming next week, it seems like a glaring omission.

Where are the teleport/portal spells for Oribos?


So after making my 6th mage on Alpha to look at all the pretty cosmetic changes, I have one mechanic question.

Arcane Power - Why was the cooldown extended to 3min up from 90sec? Given how poorly Arcane performed over all (raids, M+) in BFA, what was the reasoning behind this?

The pocket burst lining up with 90sec on use trinkets, and making heavier use of rune of power was the only engaging cooldown mechanic offered to the spec.

Is there a power creep issue we are not aware of? Is there a legendary that will lower the cooldown back to 90sec? (please don’t do that). Right now on Alpha Arcane feels okay to play so long as you only engage 1 to 3 mobs (thanks polymorph) but to raise it beyond that with an AP useage for AOE or single target deletion, 3min seems needlessly punishing and a jarring un-fun change.

Anyone else looked at this or heard a why?


Arcane mage raider here.

Been doing a good chunk of testing on alpha, including clearing all 4 leveling zones, the intro experience, and fiddling with end game stuff (Venthyr Covenant + Maw + Torghast).

I just want to talk briefly about covenant abilities and how they feel as a part of the arcane rotation and as a big extra button.

Kyrian - Radiant Spark - It just lacks oomph and felt annoying to use. I recognize that it’s probably a numbers bump, but I just did not enjoy pressing it. It’s annoying the way that Arcane Missiles works with it, and felt clunky to use in the rotation, especially in the opener.

Venthyr - Mirrors of Torment - Way too niche for PVE encounters based on caster mobs. Just like in leveling, there were only some mobs that this was semi-useful for. To me, this is by far the worst covenant ability for PVE mages, which is a shame because I love the Venthyr covenant

Necrolords - Deathborne - This is the only covenant ability that truly felt great to press. The visual is cool, and cleave on arcane blast is amazing. A couple complaints - would feel much better as a shorter cd that buffs Spell power a bit more and has a less powerful but more constant cleave effect. Arcane really suffers on cleave pve fights and I’d rather have more consistent good cleave than 1-2 moments in an encounter of AMAZING cleave.

Nightfae - Channeling spell - It surprised me that I actually enjoyed using this spell during Ardenweald leveling. Unfortunately, channeling for 6 seconds so often in a raid fight in melee range still feels very clunky. I enjoy how it makes cd’s more dynamic and unpredictable. If it channeled an aoe onto your target, it would be much more palatable.

To me, as arcane, the kyrian and the necrolord abilities seem to have the most general potential for being strong. The necrolord really shines when it’s a cleave fight, but without that niche in an encounter, it starts to look a lot worse.

I agree whole heartedly with what alot of arcane people are saying in this thread.
-Ramp up is way too long
-AP being 3 minute cd feels real bad
-Displacement was cool and its removal sucks
-Most of the unpruning is pretty worthless for arcane with the exception of Mirror Images (bring back displacement)
-I like Alter Time as another defensive cd, but in practice it feels like a pretty big dps loss in its casting.