PvE Arcane Mage Best Races

wotlk classic pve arcane mage best races

A variety of races can be Mages in WotLK: Human, Gnome and Draenei for the Alliance, as well as Blood Elf, Troll and Undead for the Horde.

As Mages cannot be Orcs, the choice of a race is very straightforward for the Horde, while for Alliance it’s not a very impactful choice.

Wow Horde Crest Horde

Troll by far the strongest race for Horde Arcane Mages. This is largely due to the Berserking racial, which increases our cast speed by 20% for 10 seconds. The other races we can pick simply don’t have any DPS-boosting racials, meaning Troll is our only recommended option.

Trolls are incredibly strong for Mages in general with a 20% haste buff being applied whenever needed on a 3 minute CD. This racial alone makes them the best race for Horde Mages, as the other races simply lack any damage boosting racial. Caster gear looks great on female trolls, too!

  • Berserking is an on-use spell that offers +20% increased cast speed for 10 seconds on a 3-minute cooldown. The fact that this is an on-use ability has big implications for burst phases / stacking your cooldowns. Haste is a pretty powerful stat for us, making this racial very solid.
  • Beast Slaying increases your damage dealt to Beast type enemies by 5%, which is very powerful. Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of Beasts in Wrath of the Lich King, specially inside raids, making this racial not too impressive in practice.
  • Da Voodoo Shuffle passively reduces the duration of movement slowing & immobilize effects on you by 15%. Generally mostly a PvP racial, but it can occasionally come in handy in PvE as well.
  • Regeneration increases health regeneration by 10% and allows you to regenerate health during combat at 10% of the your normal regeneration rate. Mages don’t have any active health regeneration abilities (it does not apply to healing effects, like potions, just health regeneration) thus this talent is only relevant while leveling or questing — it makes your eating faster, which is something, I guess.
  • Bow Specialization and Throwing Specialization increase your critical strike chance with bows & throwing weapons by 1%. Mages unfortunately cannot use bows or throwing weapons, being limited to equipping wands in the ranged slot, and thus we gain no benefit from this racial.

Blood Elves became a fan-favourite race after their introduction in OG TBC. Their racials are pretty underwhelming for mage’s in general — being the 2nd strongest Horde race and significantly weaker than the top option — but there’s no denying that both male and female Blood Elves look adorable. While significantly weaker than Troll, it could thus be argued that Blood Elf are BiS for looks!

  • Arcane Torrent is an on-use spell on a 2 minute cooldown that silences all enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds, while also restoring 6% of your mana. The silence effect can be useful in dungeons and PvP, but most bosses are unfortunately immune to silence. The mana restoration component is handy, though it isn’t much.
  • Magic Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Magic spells by 2%. This essentially combines all of the various Resistance-type racials out there, making it surprisingly flexible. Still, its benefit is mostly neglectable in PvE, while being alright in PvP.
  • Arcane Affinity increases your initial & maximum Enchanting skill by 15. This doesn’t have a gameplay impact besides minor convenience.

Undead Mages are feared in PvP thanks to their incredibly powerful Fear-breaking racial, Will of the Forsaken. Unfortunately, that racial isn’t as useful in PvE, nor are any of their other racial traits, making them indisputably the weakest race for a Horde Arcane Mage. They look super cool though!

  • Will of the Forsaken removes charm, fear, and sleep effects. This can help you avoid some raid mechanics, but it’s incredibly situational.
  • Cannibalize allows you to feast on the corpses of your slain enemies to restore your health. This does not have big implications for PvE content but does come in handy whilst doing solo content.
  • Shadow Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.
  • Underwater Breathing helps you survive for a very long time underwater. If only there was an underwater raid!

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance

All 3 of the choices you have as an Alliance Arcane Mage are great, and none of them have a particularly strong DPS-boosting racial, so the choice doesn’t matter too much — you can play the race that looks the best to you. However, we do recommend that you play Wow Draenei Crest Draenei — their Heroic Presence racial grants 1% hit and spell hit to every member of your party, so every raid will want to have 5 Draenei in it, and Mage is one of the best candidates for Draenei, as the other races don’t confer a significant DPS advantage as mentioned above.

Draenei are powerful race for Alliance Arcane Mages, and the race we recommend. Introduced in The Burning Crusade, the Draenei quickly became a fan-favourite race for the Alliance, offering multiple powerful racials while looking extremely cool in the process.

  • Heroic Presence increases the chance to hit with spells and physical attacks by 1% for you and all party members within 30 yards. Every single DPS group will want to have at least 1 Draenei for this powerful buff. As none of the other races over a significant DPS boost over Draenei for Arcane Mages, we make great candidates for 1 of the 5 Draenei a raid will need. This effect does not stack however, so if you know for a fact that your guild will have a handful of Draenei already, there’s basically no reason to go Draenei as this is the only reason to play one.
  • Gift of the Naaru places a heal-over-time effect on a single target that lasts 15 seconds, with a 3 minute cooldown. This can help save your life occasionally, and may even come in clutch with healing the tank during a high damage period, but it’s generally not a great racial for Mages.
  • Shadow Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.
  • Gemcutting increases your initial & maximum Jewelcrafting skill by 5. This doesn’t have a gameplay impact besides minor convenience.

The crafty little buggers known as Gnomes are seen as caster-focused race. In fact, when you crunch the numbers, they’re the strongest race for Mages thanks to their Expansive Mind racial — though the lead they have over the other races is very small. If your raid already has a bunch of Draenei so you don’t need to offer the Heroic Presence buff, Gnome would be your best option — and who wouldn’t want to look like Millhouse Manastorm!?

  • Expansive Mind increases your total Intellect by 5%. This will in turn increase your spells’ critical strike chance by a small amount. However, it should be stressed that even though it is a DPS boost, it’s really not that major — you won’t do significantly more DPS than the other races because of this.
  • Escape Artist instantly removes all movement slowing and immobilizing effects on a 1 minute cooldown. While this can occasionally be useful in PvE, it’s generally better in PvP (where Humans are far better anyway), so this is overall not amazing.
  • Engineering Specialization increases your initial & maximum Engineering skill by 15. This is slightly more useful than other profession-boosting racials, as Engineering has guardian-type summoned pets, which scale with your Engineering skill. This racial makes your summoned pets level 83, which makes them a decent bit stronger, but as there aren’t many useful guardians, this racial isn’t really ground-breaking.
  • Arcane Resistance reduces the chance you will be hit by Arcane spells by 2%. This is mostly a neglectable racial when it comes to PvE.

Humans are arguably the most iconic race for Mages in all of Warcraft, with both Khadgar and Jaina being prominent Mages in the lore. In World of Warcraft however, they’re sadly the weakest race (and strongest for PvP!) for Mages. However, the DPS difference with the other races is insignificant — if you enjoy the way Humans look, or if you’re planning to also PvP on your Mage, you won’t really regret picking Human. Just make sure your raid has enough Draenei for every group to get Heroic Presence buff.

  • Every Man for Himself is a crowd-control removal ability just like the Undead race, but this one has universal applicability. It is useful in PvE scenarios but has much more use in a PvP encounter, where Humans are typically considered the strongest race in the game.
  • The Human Spirit increases your Spirit by 3%. This translates into a small boost to our spell critical strike chance thanks to Molten Armor, though this will generally be a good bit weaker than a Gnome’s Expansive Mind.
  • Perception passively increases your stealth detection level by a small amount. Since there aren’t a lot of stealthed mobs in PvE, this benefit is largely not too useful.
  • Diplomacy increases the rate at which you gain reputation by 10%, a major boost for your reputation grind. Whilst a beneficial quality of life racial, it doesn’t impact actual gameplay.
  • Sword Specialization & Mace Specialization increase your expertise by 3 when using swords or maces. You’re generally in trouble if you’re using your melee weapons as a Mage, so this racial won’t offer any benefit to you.


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Hey guys! My name is Amery and here is a little something about me: I've been playing WoW for about 15 years now. With that experience, I wanted to share all the things I have learned over the years.
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1 year ago

why is missing the crit passive in blood elf, and the shadow damage bonus and healing from undead?

Last edited 1 year ago by cazzusd
Reply to  cazzusd
1 year ago

Hey, those two racials were not added until Warlords of Draenor and Mists of Pandaria respectively. This guide is for Wrath of the Lich King Classic, so the racials reflect that.

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