The Mage is a fantasy roleplaying staple, and World of Warcraft’s most traditional caster has long been a reliable long-ranged damage dealer. Depending on the chosen specialisation, the class can be a master of fire, ice, or the more esoteric arts of the Arcane. In this Mage guide we’ll get you up to speed with the strengths and weaknesses of the three aspects of the class, and how they perform in the current Legion expansion.
Mages in World of Warcraft have a lot of quality-of-life benefits. They are able to learn Portal spells that can teleport them them and their allies to specific locations - usually capital cities - across the world, and they can also conjure food and drink on demand. Ever found yourself having to go back into town in the middle of a questing session because you forgot to resupply? Not if you're a Mage!
Mages are also one of the most mobile caster classes in WOW Legion. They have several cross-spec talents that allow for both quick movement across the battlefield and casting while moving, and each specialisation has its own specific advantages in movement-heavy encounters.
Among the Mage specialisations, and as of the current (7.1) patch, Fire Mages slightly outpace their brethren in all areas. All kinds of Mage are viable in the endgame, however, so if you are particularly drawn to one of the other flavours, Fire’s slight min / maxing advantage should not deter you from playing your preferential spec.
Treat this Mage guide as your hub for everything Mage-related in WOW Legion - we’ll be updating it continuously throughout the expansion!
Editor's Note: Update #3 - The circle of Magi is now complete! We have just released the first iteration of our Arcane Mage guide, which distills this most complex of specialisations into the essentials, helping you choose talents and giving you a clear set of rotations and priorities that you can use while levelling up, doing world quests, and participating in both Mythic dungeons and Normal / Heroic raids. Go check it out using the link below!
The Fire Mage, as the name suggests, is a master of the fiery arts. Critical Strikes fuel his playstyle, allowing him to cast more powerful spells more often, and while also spreading burning flames to enemies around his main target - suffice to say that subtelty is not the Fire Mage's strong suit!
It’s worth noting that they are also the most visually striking sort of Mage, with very flashy spells. If style is a concern for you, this is your spec!
|Strengths||Fantastic damage output on both single-target and closely-stacked targets.|
|Weaknesses||Very gear dependant, and it might be a rough climb through gear upgrades until those critical hits start coming. Not as good with spread targets either.|
While not as flamboyant as their Fire cousins, the Frost Mages have a very appealing style of their own, their trademark Icicles floating above their head ready to strike their foes, and frost shields surrounding them.
If Fire relies on criticals and high-end gear, Frost is a much more workmanlike specialisation - slow and steady is the name of the game here, and Frost provides a consistent damage output in just about every situation.
While not as quick at bursting down targets as Fire or Arcane, many players prefer to level up and quest as Frost because of how they can conveniently stun and slow down enemies. This ability to kite and hamper enemies often allows them to take on foes that are considerably above their level.
|Strengths||Consistent damage output, even at low gear levels. Excels at kiting enemies.|
|Weaknesses||Weak multiple target damage output.|
More WOW class guides:
|Death Knight guide||Demon Hunter guide||Druid guide|
|Hunter guide||Mage guide||Monk guide|
|Paladin guide||Priest guide||Rogue guide|
|Shaman guide||Warlock guide||Warrior guide|
Other WOW guides:
The Arcane Mage was left behind somewhat in the Warlords of Draenor expansion, due to mechanics that simply did not scale well to end-game content. That’s a problem that's mostly in the past now, however.
In WOW Legion, the Arcane spec has been given a full redesign and is now a solid endgame choice, even if it lags a bit behind Fire. Patch 7.1 has fixed most of its weak points.
Arcane currently fills a very interesting niche in Mythic dungeons. Its potent AoE abilities and increased survivability - when compared to other specs - make it a very appealing addition to a party wanting to beat the timer on those Mythic+ speedruns.
|Strengths||Great survivability. Excellent AoE for dealing with stacked targets. Great single-target damage.|
|Weaknesses||Weak at fights where players need to switch betyween 2-3 targets.|
That's it for our overview of the Mage class as a whole - be sure to check the individual spec guides for tips on Talent Builds, rotations and Artifact Weapon levelling! And come back often, as we'll update this guide throughout the expansion!
In the meantime, we'd love to hear about your experience playing Mage in Legion in the comments section.