Detect Magic
Spell holy dizzy.png
  • Detect Magic
  • Level 16 mage ability
  • 40 yd range
  • 35 Mana
  • Instant
  • Detects beneficial magic effects on the target for 2 min.
Usable by
Class Mage
School Arcane
Cooldown None
Other information
Level learned 16
Related debuff
Spell holy dizzy.png
  • Magic
  • Detect Magic
  • Magic detection.
  • Duration: 2 minutes

Prior to patch 2.3, Detect Magic was a Mage spell that allowed the mage (and others) to see the magical buffs on an enemy target. Normally, you could only see debuffs put there by you or others. With the default Blizzard UI, the target's buffs appeared directly below the row of debuffs on the target's unit frame. The Detect Magic debuff placed on the target was dispellable as a magic debuff. The spell caused no threat, and could be cast on enemies without aggroing them, similar to [Hunter's Mark].

Tips and tactics

Detect Magic was useful in several PvE encounters where a boss may use a special self buff throughout the fight. Some bosses had a damage shield or a reflective shield that could be dangerous if not detected quickly. While these buffs also usually had a casting animation with them, it was difficult to spot it amongst the visual clutter when many other players were attacking the same target. Detect magic would show the buff clearly on the target's unit frame.

Detect Magic was also good for finding buffs that mages could [Spellsteal].

There was no cooldown on this ability (aside from the Universal Cooldown).

This spell had an unusually long range, so it could be used in PvP to cause panic when enemy players saw you casting something from very far away.

Mages often used this spell to mark targets for [Polymorph]. For example: "The one that just had the swirling, glowing ball around it is the one I will polymorph."

Since it was a debuff, this spell could be dispelled; but you could also use it to "insulate" other debuffs. Debuffs are dispelled in the order they are cast, putting this on an enemy before your Warlock friend casts his curses will make your enemy have to dispel your Detect Magic before he can get to the more harmful effects. Most dispels are instant cast and very cheap, so it's main benefit is the time it takes.

When facing a hostile Warlock with a Felhunter in a one-on-one fight, cast this spell on him before [Polymorph], so the Felhunter will have to dispel it (with [Devour Magic]) first then wait the Cooldown of 8 seconds to dispel your Polymorph. Eight seconds are often priceless in this kind of encounter.

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Detect Magic is a divination spell used by healers and arcanists. It allows a caster to detect magical auras. The amount of information revealed depends on how long someone studies a particular area or subject. It can show the presence or absence of magical auras. With further study, it can show the number of different magical auras and the power of the most potent aura. Finally, with enough time, it can give the strength and location of each aura.[1]

Patch changes

  • Bc icon.gif Patch 2.3.0 (2007-11-13): Removed. All players may now see their target's beneficial effects at all times.
  • WoW Icon update.png Patch 1.6.0 (2005-07-12): Will no longer cause guard retaliation in Goblin towns.
  • WoW Icon update.png Patch 1.1.0 (2004-11-07): Facing requirement removed.
  • PTR client.png Patch 0.7 (2004-06-15): Range increased and hate removed.


External links