Gearing up to raid is a rite of passage for many. Many guilds or pubby raids will not take in people who do not have the gear for the instances. Often it’s not even on the principle of DPS, healing, or tanking ability. That could be very well covered. It’s more on the principle of showing that you’re dedicated and ready to take on more difficult content. Of course, other times it is about being able to actually contribute.
To gear up as a Mage you’ll have a lot of things working for you. Most cloth falls into either healing cloth or damage cloth and a lot of times they can switch with each other. You need to hit, spell damage, and spell crit for raiding along with Stamina and Intellect. Most cloth items have these stats on them making it effortless to look for items with the stats you need.
What You’re Looking For
The following are the things you’ll be looking for on the various armor and weapons you’ll be equipping yourself in.
- Hit Rating: One of the single biggest statistics when you’re still in lower grade gear. To Hit works to keep enemies from dodging or resisting your spells. This means less misses which equates to more damage. You’ll need about 446 total hit to “cap out”. Talents like Precision and Arcane Focus can bring that number down by about 100 points, but you still probably won’t even hit that cap before you start raiding. Try to get as much spell hit as you can since it matters the most. If your spells don’t hit then you can’t do damage. This is the stat that most people are going to be judging you for the most.
- Spell Power: A simple one. Spell power gives you more damage which means your critical strikes will hit for more and your spells will do more overall damage.
- Critical Strike: Stacking critical strike increases your chance to inflict more critical strikes on your enemies. Getting this as high as you can is important as a Mage.
- Stamina & Intellect: Stamina equates into more life and Intellect means more mana (which isn’t that great) and more spell power. You don’t have to seek these out as they’ll come with the cloth you get, but they’re powerful allies in your quest to buff yourself up with gear.
- Haste: Haste is a good stat, but I’m including it only to note that you shouldn’t focus on it but it’s alright to grab it.
As you can see there aren’t a whole lot of things you’ve got to worry about other than Hit. So let’s start looking at what you’ll need to be grabbing.
Buffing Yourself Up
Before we get into gear let’s talk about food, flasks, and what potions to bring.
- Food: A Great Feast (35 spell power/30 Stamina) or Fish Feast (46 spell power/40 Stamina) should be out before a raid so be sure to grab some food from there. You can summon your own restorative food (or a table for others) but you’ll want some buff food of your own. Firecracker Salmon gives 46 spell power and 40 stamina while Poached Nettlefish will give you 30 critical strike and 40 Stamina. There are similar foods that give less and might be cheaper, but having some buff food of your own is good if you die and need to be buffed up again. If you aren’t hit rating capped then Snapper Extreme will give 40 hit rating and 40 Stamina.
- Flasks: Flask of the Frost Wyrm is all you need.
- Potions: Bring Potions of Speed along with Runic Healing and Mana. If you feel the encounter isn’t going to need a restorative potion then use your speed potion along with your trinket and/or Icy Veins to bump up your DPS.
Da Phat Lootz
The loot you’ll be looking to plunder will come from one of four sources. Questing, purchasing off of the auction house, through heroic instances, or from reputation. Luckily we have a Mage reputation guide here that goes over how to get any of the items mentioned here along with other alternatives if reputation is something you enjoy farming.
Quests won’t offer a lot. Outside of a trinket and wand there isn’t a lot that isn’t found from instances, reputation, or the Auction House. The Auction House doesn’t house a whole lot but what it does it usually expensive (it varies server by server). You can farm up the materials yourself and save a good deal if you can find a tailor to craft you the pieces you want.
Instances and reputation work alongside one another. For any reputation you can champion you can also be farming emblems and gear. Emblems are kind of a sub-option of running heroics. Every slot can be filled with emblem gear and it’d be fine for raiding (although that’s various tedious and will not present the best in stats).
Being hit capped is the most important thing for raiding so aim to get as much hit rating as you can. A lot of spell power and critical strike is needed as a Mage too so be sure to be stacked up on that. Hit points aren’t that important but to do Naxx you’ll want over 13-15,000 for sure. http://wow-heroes.com/ is another good way to judge your worthiness. If you reach 1,500 scoring with their system then you’re considered “naxx ready”. The best way to raise your score is keep getting better gear.
Naxxramas requires at least a 1,500 WoW-Heroes score to do well in.
Enchants and gems are needed too of course. Remember to focus on gems that provide hit and enchants of a similar design. Popular enchants are super stats to chest, Greater Inscription of the Storm for the shoulders, Arcanum of Burning Mysteries for the head, spellthread for the pants, spell power on bracers and gloves, and spell power or crit/hit on the weapon. Rigid Autumn’s Glow gems are yellow gems with 15 hit rating and generally go for 30-80 gold on servers which isn’t bad.
If you’re wondering what’s needed for heroics then know that people aren’t too picky about DPS. Just have more than a 100-200 hit rating and lots of spell power and you’ll be fine.
Slot by Slot Recommendations
As a note most badge gear (Emblems of Heroism) isn’t listed but assumed. You can always grab gear with Emblems of Heroism and do alright when gearing yourself up.
If you see some gear from a heroic you want but don’t have the “stats” for heroics relax. Look through for reputation/auction house related gear. Get those pieces and you’ll be heroic ready in no time.
For the head slot you won’t find any wizard hats here but you will find some hats that might as well be. There are two pre-raid choices. One that’s easy to get and one that’s a lot more time consuming but has more beefy stats.
- Hat of Wintery Doom [Auction House | Tailoring]
69 Stamina, 46 Intellect, Meta/Red Socket, 8 Intellect socket bonus, 44 hit rating, 53 spell power.
This hat is “it” for pre-raiding hats. It’s cheap, rounding out at about 300gold buyout, and has a whooping 44 hit rating. Cheap, effective, and socket room makes this very attractive.
- Titan-forged Hood of Dominance [Wintergrasp Marks of Honor]
102 Stamina, 45 Intellect, Meta/Red Socket, 8 resilience rating socket bonus, 44 hit rating, 43 resilience rating, 87 spell power.
The above hat can’t compare to the stats on this one, but this hat requires 40 wintergrasp marks which can take awhile to farm up and is PvP related. It’s a good PvP hat though.
There is a lot in the way of pre-raid necklaces but a lot of them don’t offer spell hit or are aimed more towards healers. Here are some that aim to impress for raiding.
- Choker of Betrayal [Quest: Betrayal in Zul’drak]
27 Stamina, 25 Intellect, Red Socket, 24 haste rating, 29 spell power
Your basic starting necklace. It comes from a soloable “elite” quest that is started by Stefan at Ebon Watch.
- Emeline’s Locket [Quest: The Admiral Revealed]
20 Stamina, 24 Intellect, Yellow Socket, 4 Hit Rating socket bonus, 25 hit rating, 40 spell power
An even better quest necklace with a good deal of hit on it. You’ll get it from the quest “The Admiral Revealed” in Icecrown, but be careful! It’s a 5 person quest.
- Encircling Burnished Gold Chains [25 Emblems of Heroism]
49 Stamina, 38 Intellect, 34 Spirit, 25 hit rating, 59 spell power
Emblem gear is easy to farm for, but it’s an ok upgrade from Emelines.
- Necklace of Taldaram [Heroic Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom: Prince Taldaram]
43 Stamina, 28 Intellect, 43 hit rating, 50 spell power
While not as “good” as the badge necklace I would still consider it the best pre-raid necklace just because of how much hit it has.
There is just one cloak I want to recommend because it’s the easiest, it’s got the high stats, and it’s nearly given to you. The alternatives are a cloak from the Post-partum Aggression which is the end of the Hemet Nesingwary line.
- Shroud of Dedicated Research [Honored Kirin Tor]
28 Stamina, 29 Intellect, 38 haste rating, 46 spell power
You should be honored with the Kirin Tor at 80 or really close to it, so it’s a free cape. Otherwise do the Hemet quest.
There isn’t a lot of shoulder options and the two you get are nearly identical. Luckily one is generally cheap off of the auction house.
- Mantle of the Tribunal [Tribunal Chest – Halls of Stone]
45 Stamina, 59 Intellect, 42 haste rating, 68 spell power
- Dark Runic Mantle [BoE from Halls of Stone Heroic Instance & Auction House]
42 Stamina, 44 Intellect, 50 haste rating, 59 spell power
Less spell power and int, more haste but you can grab it for 200gold on some servers since it’s BoE. Not a bad deal.
There are two main epic crafted sets. Ebonweave and Spellweave. Spellweave will have more haste and spirit while Ebonweave will have hit and stamina. I’ll list Ebonweave but if you’re hit capped then Spellweave is an ok option, otherwise always go with Ebonweave.
- Ebonweave Robe [Tailoring | Auction House]
67 Stamina, 80 Intellect, 68 hit rating, 105 spell power
Expect to pay a premium, but it’s one of the best pre-raid robes you’ll get.
- Water-Drenched Robe [Heroic Violet Hold: Ichoron]
58 Stamina, 60 Intellect, Blue Socket, Red Socket, 62 hit rating, 73 spell power
Not as good as Ebonweave but free.
The shirt slot is mostly just for fun. As a note, Mages often find themselves in robes making the shirt slot useless so buying an expensive shirt item for the looks is often ill advised.
- Ebonweave Gloves [Tailoring | Auction House]
49 Stamina, 66 Intellect, 51 hit rating, 77 spell power
Expensive, but good. Again if you’re hit capped go with Spellweave which is the healer’s set for the haste.
- Gloves of Glistening Runes
49 Stamina, 51 Intellect, 44 spirit, Red Socket (4 crite strike bonus), 36 critical strike rating, 68 spell power.
Kinda tedious to farm for, but like in most situations, a free pair of gloves is a free pair of gloves.
Be sure to use a belt buckle on your belt to get another gem slot.
- Sash of the Wizened Wyrm [Honored with Wyrmrest Accord]
37 Stamina, 51 Intellect, Yellow Socket (4 hit rating bonus), 40 hit rating, 60 spell power
40 hit rating for a reputation level that’s rather easy to get? Amazing! Grab these and don’t waste your time searching for other things.
In the legs department you’re given a choice between running Utgarde Pinnacle or picking up some rather cheap legs off the auction house. The instance legs are a lot better, but the speed and ease of Black Duskweave is very appealing.
- Sorrowgrave’s Breeches (Svala Sorrowgrave in Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle)
66 Stamina, 71 Intellect, Red Socket (4 crit strike bonus), 59 critical strike rating, 82 spell power
A really nice pair of paints from Sorrowgrave, a shame that they’re used.
- Black Duskweave Leggings [BoE Tailoring]
60 Stamina, 50 Intellect, 69 haste rating, 81 spell power
Cheap, effective, and workable. It might favor haste over critical strike but that’s not a big deal.
Not a lot of nice foot gear pre-Naxx out there. Run (literally) with whatever you can get for this slot.
- Cleric’s Linen Shoes (Heroic Nexus)
31 Stamina, 44 Intellect, Red Socket (6 stamina bonus), 57 haste rating, 59 spell power
Pick one of the crafted rings and then run UK until you can get Ingvar’s awesome ring. The JC rings may cost a good bit, but quality comes at a price.
- Ring of Northern Tears [Jewelcrafted]
Blue Socket (4 hit rating bonus), 31 hit rating, 39 critical strike, 36 spell power
For those with light purses this will work wonders.
- Titanium Spellshock Ring [Jewelcrafted]
48 Stamina, 33 Intellect, 42 critical strike, 49 spell power
If your purse is a bit heavier than this is the superior option.
- Annhylde’s Ring [Heroic Utgarde Keep: Ingvar the Plunderer]
50 Stamina, 33 Intellect, 49 haste rating, 59 spell power
Grab one of the first trinkets and then pick up Cannoneer’s Fuselighter. It’s awesome and easy to get from a quest you’ve probably done leveling up.
- Sundial of the Exiled [40 Emblems]
84 critical strike rating, harmful spells have a chance to give you 590 spell power for 10 seconds
- Forge Ember [Heroic Halls of Stone: Sjonnir the Ironshaper]
73 critical strike rating, chance on damage or healing spells to increase spell power by 512 for 10 seconds.
- Cannoneer’s Fuselighter [The Last Line of Defense in Icecrown]
54 critical strike rating, 281 spell power for 20 seconds on use (2 minute cooldown)
Weapon + Off-Hand
I can only recommend one combo and it’s what I consider the best and easiest to get. You’ll need 25 emblems and Kirin Tor Revered. With their tabard on you’ll be able to get both at the same time making for this combo a super easy way to give yourself over 400 spell power and 38 hit rating.
- Flameheart Spell Scalpel [Kirin Tor Revered] + Ward of the Violet Citadel [25 Emblems]
28 Stamina, 33 Intellect, 34 hit rating, 25 critical strike, 355 spell power + 49 stamina, 34 intellect, 38 hit rating, 25 critical strike, 59 spell power
There are two options and the haste rating on the second one makes it superior, but the first is the easiest to snag.
- Wand of Blinding Light [The Cleansing of Jintha’kalar in Dragonblight]
15 hit rating, 17 haste rating, 25 spell power
- Wand of the San’layn [Prince Keleseth in Heroic Utgarde Keep]
14 hit rating, 34 haste rating, 21 spell power
Pick up a pair of these beauties on the auction house for cheap and relax.
- Black Duskweave Wristwraps [BoE Tailoring]
33 Stamina, 27 Intellect, 28 haste rating, 46 spell power
Well that’s what’s needed to gear up a Mage for raiding. If you’ve got questions or if you think we’ve missed some phat loot then join our ongoing discussion on the forums.