PvE Arcane Mage Stat Priority & Reforging

PvE Arcane Mage Stat Priority & Reforging
  • Author: Luxrah
  • Date: May 9, 2024
  • Updated: May 9, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

Before you can start kitting out your character you’ll need to know what your stat priority is so you can select the appropriate gear, gems, enchants, and consumables. Arcane Mages have a couple of stat caps to worry about as well, with the value of those stats dropping significantly once the caps are reached.

Stat Priority

  1. Intellect
  2. Hit to cap
  3. Haste to cap
  4. Mastery
  5. Haste beyond cap
  6. Critical Strike

Intellect is your primary stat and will always be the most important stat for an Arcane Mage as the main source of your Spell Power and mana pool. Intellect also increases your Critical Strike.

Hit is vital until you reach the cap, which is 17%. After that it is completely useless, but until then it is just as valuable as Intellect. Not being Hit capped means that your attacks may not land, which means any stats that would improve their damage are wasted. To reach the 17% Hit cap, you’ll need 1742 Hit Rating, or 1640 Hit Rating if you’re a Draenei (thanks to their Heroic Presence racial).

Haste is extremely valuable up to the point where you can reach the soft cap, but any extra Haste beyond that point drops below Mastery in value. Every point of Haste will give you a tiny increase to your casting speed, but the soft cap is the point at which your Arcane Blast reaches a 1-second cast time during Time Warp.

When calculating your Haste, keep in mind that you should have 3/3 in the Netherwind Presence talent, which gives 3% Haste. Goblins get 1% Haste through their Time is Money racial. You can also get 5% Haste from the following raid buffs:

With all of that in mind, you need about 128 Haste Rating for every 1% increase. It takes 1768 Haste Rating to reach the cap with Netherwind Presence and one of the raid buffs above (1624 for Goblins). If you have the Tier 11 4-piece set bonus, your Arcane Blast‘s cast time is reduced by 10%, so you will need only 433 Haste Rating (312 for Goblins).

Mastery is the most stackable stat for an Arcane Mage once your Hit and Haste caps have been reached. Mastery is strongest during the mana conservation phase of your rotation, which will make up the bulk of your time during a fight. Haste becomes stronger during the burn phase, when your mana will dip too low for you to get much out of your Mastery ability, Mana Adept.

Critical Strike is your weakest stat, so you’ll generally want to replace or Reforge it with something better. If there are no better options it’s still an increase to your damage.

Spirit is not at all useful to caster DPS in Cataclysm and is now purely a healer stat, so you should avoid it if possible.


Reforging is a new feature in Cataclysm that allows you to trade out part of one secondary stat for another on any piece of gear. You won’t be able to get Intellect this way (or get rid of another stat like Agility or Stamina), but you can fine-tune your secondary stats to your heart’s content.

Arcane Mages will want to Reforge any Critical Strike on their gear to a more useful stat. At low gear levels, you may even want to reforge Mastery to Hit or Haste in order to reach the caps. Once those caps are reached, you can Reforge excess of any secondary stat to Mastery.


About the Author


I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off since vanilla, usually as a healer or caster and often as a guild leader. I play both retail and classic. I also love RPGs, sandboxes, and sims.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top