Lost Ark: Arcanist Class Guide

This Arcanist class guide covers the latest class addition to Lost Ark, the card-wielding mage. Also known as the Arcana in other regions, this class is a high damage class with a complex rotation of abilities.

This guide covers the builds for the class, how the deck of cards works to apply buffs and debuffs, and a general overview of some rotations and playstyles this complicated class allows.

Class Overview

The Arcanist is a fast-paced, damage-dealing mage class that relies on a steady rotation of low cooldown abilities. Its key playstyle revolves around a rotating stack of twelve different cards that all provide different benefits – from damage buffs to cooldown reduction. Here's a closer look at the cards:

CardEffectRotation Power
HydraSplits your basic attack in three directions, creates one stack on the enemyThis is your typical basic attack and should be
MadnessFor 30 seconds, you get extra attack speed every time you use another skill (limit of 15% buff)Increases outgoing attack speed damage/can place stacks quicker
Twisted FateWhen activated, this card retains your outgoing skill damage at the same level, or it increases by 40%Random buff or might do nothing
CorrosionThis increases your potential damage on an enemy, ignores armorArmor rend is always useful for certain raids/boss level monsters
GhostImproves movement speed by 20% and reduces incoming damage by -50% for 16sYour 'get out of jail' card, can be very important to navigate tricky raids, especially because the Arcanist is squishy/gets into melee range quite often
CullingWhen activated, all your skills get a guaranteed crit chance and 50% extra damageThis is your big burst card, the one that should be activated at the end of a rotation for maximum damage – typically used alongside Judgement for max damage
BalanceYour stacking cards now grant you an extra stackThis is great to help build power stacks before a finisher – can be used alongside skills like Hydra
JudgementThe next enemy you hit is treated as if you have four stacks already active on themJudgement is typically used in combo with the Culling card for max stack/crit damage
MoonMana regen and lower cooldownUtility card
StarFull mana recovery, all skills reduced by 15% cooldown except for awakening/movement/get upUtility card
RoyalReshuffles your cards – fills slots with other cardsMake sure you use the free card in the other slot before activating Royal, which will replace itself and the other card in your slots
Wheel Of FateWhen activated, this card reduces the cooldown of the next skill by 100% to instantly use it againThis is a great rotation booster and allows you to pop skils in quick succession
EmperorThis card is only available with the Emperor class engraving, big AoE damageGood for Chaos Dungeons, but also fits neatly into the rotation if you're running the Emperor class engraving

All these cards are shuffled at random, so a lot of learning the Arcanist is about making the right decisions on when to save them/when to activate them. Hunting for big combos like Judgement and Culling isn't guaranteed, so often you'll be making a lot of decisions on the fly. This makes the Arcanist one of the more complicated classes to play.

Class Engravings

As well as learning the cards available to you, the playstyle of the Arcanist is dictated by one of the two Class Engravings you choose.

Empress' Grace

The Empress' Grace build emphasises the power of your Ruin stacks – these are the stacks provided by your selection of Red skills. You should be working toward getting max stacks (four in total) to deal the most burst damage you can.

  • At level three, the Class Engraving provides a flat boost of 30% damage to your Ruin stacks and provides a 30% mana refund
  • This class build focuses on Specialization as a stat for max damage, crit damage secondary focus
  • Most important engravings for this build are: Empress, Grudge, Hit Master, Barricade, Cursed Doll, Adrenaline
  • A fast-paced build for raids and dungeons

Emperor's Edict

Emperor's Edict is a more stationary build that relies on short, concise buff windows that can be difficult to nail. It's all about keeping your cooldowns as low as possible and rotating cards quickly to hit the Emperor Card for big damage.

  • At level three, the Class Engraving provides 50% extra deck gauge earning, 30% damage buff, and the Emperor card
  • This class build focuses on Swiftness for low cooldowns, Crit as secondary stat
  • Most important engravings for this build are: Emperor, Grudge, Raid Captain, Adrenaline, Mass Increase, All Out Attack

Empress' Grace is without a doubt the most popular Class Engraving. It is fast-paced, has impressive damage up-time, and has simpler rotations to learn. It is the common version of Arcanist you'll see in Raids and Dungeons. If you do see Emperor's Edict out in the wild, it's used to clear Chaos Dungeons quickly with a fast rotation into the Emperor card providing all the AoE damage you need to blast through them.

Empress Build

The Empress build relies on powerful red skills that act as your main damage output.

  • The main focus for this build is Celestial Rain, Serendipity, and Secret Garden. Depending on how far progressed your account is, you may want to experiment with these as your detonation rotation might be slower than a high-end account with all the right gems and tripods.
  • Call of Destiny and Return are used to create stacks before detonating with Celestial Rain, Serendipity, and Secret Garden.
  • Your three blue skills are Spiral Edge, Scratch Dealer, Quadra Accelerate. These are also used to build stacks, movement, and for cooldown reduction.

You want to activate your stacks with Celestial Rain whenever possible, as this provides the biggest damage. Simple rotation is: build stacks with Quadra Accelerate, Spiral Edge, etc, then activate with Celestial Rain when you hit four stacks. You will usually run the Death card as your Awakening here – basically just deals massive damage, stacks with you Ruin stacks.

Emperor Build

The Emperor build is all about rotating your cards very quickly to hit the Emperor card as soon as you can.

  • Some sample skills include Celestial Rain, Evoke, Dark Resurrection. You can also run Checkmate, Scratch Dealer, and Stream of Edge.
  • Cooldown gems are recommended.

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