• March 30, 2023

Do you remember our article TBC Classic - Who rocks, who sucks? Lessons from the Private Servers, which we published well before the launch of WoW: Burning Crusade Classic? Many of the predictions made there have come true in Phase 1 of TBC Classic, for example that Warlocks and Hunters will be enormously strong.

However, in recent weeks, one playstyle has emerged as the current number one damage specialist ahead of the Avengers and Shadowbolt Slingshots, and we didn't really have it in mind until Phase 2. We're talking about Arcane Mages, who, according to Warcrafttavern, deal the highest average damage across all Phase 1 raid bosses (i.e. Karazhan, Gruul's Lair, and Magtheridon's Chamber, in the "90th Percentile" range, via Warcraftlogs) and by some margin.

  • 1st place: Arcane Mage with 1,488 DpS
  • 2nd place: Beastlord Hunter with 1,391 DpS
  • 3rd place: Destruction Warlock with 1,370 DpS
  • 4th place: Survival-Hunter with 1.305 DpS
  • 5th place: Demonology Warlock with 1.300 DpS

The top lists on wowtbc.gg show that the Arcane Mage dominates especially in Karazhan by a large margin, while he "only" comes in 4th place in Gruul and Magtheridon. This is a remarkable result considering that Arcane Mages only became meta in the original Burning Crusade with the regalia of Tirisfal (Mage Tier 5 set) and the 2-set bonus: "2 parts: Increases the damage and mana cost of Arcane Strike by 20%." Also because there is significantly more willpower on the phase 2 gear than on the phase 1 counterparts.

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Why Arcane Mages are so strong right now

So why are Arcane Mages so incredibly strong in Phase 1? One reason is obvious (and we already mentioned it in the article mentioned at the beginning of this article): Similar to WoW (buy now 14,99 € )

Classic, the battle durations in TBC Classic are much shorter than it was the case "back then", from which play styles with strong burst phases and DpS cooldowns, but also with a high mana consumption benefit extremely. All three of these points apply to the Arcane Mage.

However, there is more to it than that. First, the Arcane playstyle already benefits from two adjustments that didn't come into play in the original TBC era until patches 2.3 and 2.4, respectively. Here are the relevant excerpts from the patch notes:

  • Arcane Meditation (Arcane) mana regeneration has been increased to 10/20/30%.
  • Willpower-based mana regeneration: changed to regenerate more mana per willpower point as Intelligence increases.

Arcane Mages were already known for stacking their Intelligence value as high as possible anyway. However, thanks to the latter change, they now scale even better with Intelligence, gaining an increase in damage bonus, spell crit chance, max mana, and mana regeneration in combat via this attribute alone. At the same time, thanks to both changes, Arcane's biggest weakness is mitigated: high mana consumption. In fact, at the time, the Willpower adjustment alone turned out to be so strong that it was already toned down with WotLK.

Second, players on Mage Discord are certain (via Reddit) that you couldn't combo Icy Veins with Battlelust in the original TBC. Pack Quagmirran's Eye on

top of that, and an extremely powerful burst phase is currently possible.

Third, many of today's raid groups will want to make sure their Arcane Mages have the most important support now, such as a Shadow Priest in the group. Because of the short duration of fights, you can even afford to plan on buffing Druids for your Arcane Mages.

Phase 2 Arcane Mage Outlook

We've already hinted at it: in Phase 2, Arcane Mages can look forward to a tremendously strong set bonus as well as a lot more willpower on their equipment. In addition, the mana supply will continue to increase, which in turn will have a positive effect on the mana recovery of Invocation and Totem of Mana Flood

. Shadow Priests should also provide even better mana regeneration with an item upgrade or two.

At the same time, there are only a few boss fights in phase 2, which will last significantly longer than the current fight against Gruul, for example, after the progression phase. Most of the nasties have comparably high health values, and at the same time the raid damage increases with every item upgrade. So be prepared for Arcane Mages to rock the DpS stats in the Serpent Shrine and Eye of the Storm Fortress as well.

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