Arcane Sanctum: What Mages need to know for patch 6.2

Patch 6.2 is nearly upon us and soon we’ll all be diving into new raid, world, and garrison content. I know that’s not the most pressing concern on your mind, though. You’re wondering, “What is this patch going to do for me as a Mage? And will we get to kill any Warlocks?” The answer to the second question is a resounding “yes.” When you think about it, all the bosses in Hellfire Citadel use some form of fel magic. It’s a mess of warlocks (I think that’s the official plural) and we are going to bust down the doors, defeat them repeatedly and then take their stuff. It’s going to be great.

Major changes and outlook for Hellfire Citadel

As of the latest patch notes, we have a few minor changes going forward. The first one that affects all Mages is that Amplify Magic is still being removed. I’m going to miss it and I’m not sure what I’ll put on my action bar in its place. Farewell, Amplify Magic. We hardly knew ye.

Arcane’s Mastery: Mana Adept is being reduced in effectiveness by 6%. At the same time, Arcane Missiles is being buffed by 10%. This should have the overall effect of smoothing out Arcane’s damage. Burn phases will do slightly less damage, but conserve phases will see slightly more with the buff to Missiles.

Frost is receiving a 13% increase in effectiveness for their Mastery: Icicles. Brain Freeze will have only a 15% chance to trigger on each multistrike (down from 25%). Fingers of Frost will now increase Ice Lance damage by 140% (up from 100%). Frostbolt now deals 20% more damage. In addition, there is a talent change making Prismatic Crystal attackable by the Mage’s pets or guardians. This is primarily of major benefit to Frost Mages since it will mean additional damage during Prismatic Crystal’s duration as well as the ability to use the Water Elemental’s Water Jet to generate Fingers of Frost procs during that time.

Flameglow is receiving a slight nerf, absorbing a maximum of 20% damage from each attack (down from 30%). The Prismatic Crystal being targetable by a Mage’s pets or guardians may seem to apply only to Frost, but it will have additional implications for us as we start to gain our Tier 18 set bonuses. Also, note that Fire Mages wearing Tier 17 are having the two-piece bonus redesigned. Instead of adding charges to Inferno Blast as it did formerly, it will now reduce the cooldown of Inferno Blast by 2 seconds. This is a definite nerf and it means that if you’ve only got 2-3 pieces of Tier 17, you’ll want to ditch it as soon as possible in favor of Tier 18!

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Blackrock Foundry has been a pretty good raid instance for Mages overall. Two of our specs were performing very well, especially at higher gear levels. Frost has unfortunately struggled to keep up with Arcane and Fire in this tier, and the upcoming changes make an effort to address that. If you consider simulated DPS, both Arcane and Fire were not only significantly higher than Frost for this tier, but higher than every other DPS class and spec. It’s unusual to have two-thirds of our specs dominating so clearly! If you consider actual, reported DPS rankings for all of the BRF fights, you see a very similar picture for most bosses on Mythic difficulty.

Become a Watcher

Given that there aren’t currently any nerfs planned for Fire, we can probably expect this pattern to continue throughout Hellfire Citadel, especially as item levels continue to climb. Fire will continue to excel at any fight with multi-targeting, a shared health pool, or the potential for cleave damage. Arcane will pull ahead for fights requiring single target damage and burst, although Fire’s single target potential is still very high. We can only hope that the adjustments to Frost prove to be sufficient to make them more of a contender so that everyone can play their preferred spec. But in the meantime, it will be useful to keep a spare Arcane or Fire spec in your pocket when necessary.

Tier 18 Set Bonuses

Our Tier set bonuses are now complete for all specs! Raiment of the Arcanic Conclave grants the following effects:

  • Arcane Two-Piece: Arcane Missiles has a 35% chance to create a Time Anomaly, summoning a random hero through time to assist you in battle for 10 sec.
  • Arcane Four-Piece: Each of the heroes summoned by Time Anomaly increases the damage you deal by 12% until it departs.
  • Fire Two-Piece: Pyroblast has a 25% chance to conjure a Fiery Phoenix, dealing (350% of Spell power) additional Fire damage to the target.
  • Fire Four-Piece: When the Phoenix is summoned, you gain 5% spell damage and 5% spell haste for 15 sec.
  • Frost Two-Piece: Water Jet generates Brain Freeze when used, and the Brain Freeze effect increases Frostfire Bolt damage by an additional 40%.
  • Frost Four-Piece: Increases the duration of Water Jet by 10 sec, and increases the total Fingers of Frost stacks by 2.

Arcane’s tier bonus was just redesigned and so we don’t yet have info about how it’s performing. The new two-set bonus is a really unique idea. Now, casting Arcane Missiles grants the Mage a 35% chance to create a Time Anomaly, summoning a random hero through time to assist you in battle for 30 seconds. This is also relevant to your Prismatic Crystal because they’ll be able to damage it, too. The summoned hero can be one of four currently known: Jaina Proudmoore, Tyrande Whisperwind, Sylvanas Windrunner, or Prince Arthas Menethil. Fire’s two-piece bonus is where the change to Prismatic Crystal comes into play for specs that aren’t just Frost. The Fiery Phoenix that is summoned will also be able to damage your Prismatic Crystal if you’re using it. The Frost two-piece bonus is very nice indeed, delivering an additional way to generate Brain Freeze procs while also giving Frostfire Bolt an extra 40% of slushy damage.

All of the spec’s four-piece bonuses are powerful in their current state. The Arcane four-piece is that whenever a Time Anomaly hero is summoned, it increases the damage you deal by 12% until it departs. Fire’s bonus adds a 15 second buff effect that grants 5% spell damage and 5% spell haste whenever your Fiery Phoenix is randomly summoned. Frost’s four-piece increases the duration of your Water Jet by four seconds and increases the total Fingers of Frost stacks by 2. This is going to make managing your Water Elemental’s Water Jet even more essential because it’s a tidy boost of burst damage to get those free Fingers of Frost stacks. Make sure you’re casting Water Jet as often as possible.

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Class Trinket

We won’t be seeing these trinkets for at least a little while (depending on how quickly you’ll be killing Archimonde) but they’re worth taking a look at regardless. These class specific trinkets drop from Archimonde and have unique effects depending on your spec. For Mages the trinket is the Tome of Shifting Words. Its effects are:

Although the trinket lacks base stats, each of these buffs has the potential to be very powerful in its own right. The Wild Arcanist effect will pour more damage into Arcane’s burn phase. Shatterlance could be especially interesting if used alongside Water Jet in order to generate Fingers of Frost procs. Fire’s Pyrosurge benefit from the trinket is more passive; we’re unlikely to change when we cast Inferno Blast in the hopes of generating one of these Flamestrikes, but it will be a “nice to have” when it happens.

The future

It’s always an exciting time when a new raid tier is starting! Although there are some nerfs mixed in with the buffs, for the most part Mages are looking great heading into the new content and we have much to look forward to as we start to check out the new encounters, gather tier pieces and collect our trinkets. Good luck in Hellfire Citadel!

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