Fire Mage DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoW MoP 5.4)

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Fire Mage Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Fire Mage core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Fire Mage.

The other pages of our Fire Mage guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewers

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Blatty and Vykina (whom you can follow on Twitter), two of the best Mages in the world. They both raid in Method.

1. Single Target Rotation↑top

The rotation of a Fire Mage consists in the following priority list.

  1. Refresh Invoker's Energy Icon Invoker's Energy or refresh Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power.
  2. Use Combustion Icon Combustion when you have a high Ignite Icon Ignite DoT present (see this section for more information).
  3. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast when Pyroblast! Icon Pyroblast! and Heating Up Icon Heating Up are up (see next section for explanations).
  4. Apply your Mage Bomb (Tier 5 talent) or refresh it just before it expires.
  5. Cast Inferno Blast Icon Inferno Blast when Heating Up Icon Heating Up procs and Inferno Blast is off cooldown.
    • Inferno Blast will always crit, upgrading Heating Up to Pyroblast! Icon Pyroblast!.
  6. Cast Fireball Icon Fireball.
  7. When moving, cast Scorch Icon Scorch instead of Fireball Icon Fireball.

See our Opening Sequence for instructions on what to cast when the fight starts.

1.1. Heating Up Trick

When upgrading Heating Up Icon Heating Up to Pyroblast! Icon Pyroblast! with Inferno Blast Icon Inferno Blast, do not use the instant-cast Pyroblast just yet. Keep casting Fireball Icon Fireball until you get another Heating Up. When this happens, cast Fireball Icon Fireball again immediately followed by your instant-cast Pyroblast. Fireball and Pyroblast will land on the target at the same time and if any of them is a critical strike, then your current Heating Up will be upgraded and will give you another instant-cast Pyroblast.

1.2. Tier 6 Talent

Invocation Icon Invocation is your best Tier 6 talent and is very straightforward to use. Cast it before the pull to get Invoker's Energy Icon Invoker's Energy up and recast it every time it expires.

Make sure that, during Evocation Icon Evocation, you do not have to refresh Nether Tempest Icon Nether Tempest.

If you chose Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power as your Tier 6 talent, then make sure that your Rune of Power is always active and that you stand in it at all times.

We discuss how other choices of talents affect your play style further down the page.

1.3. Cooldown Usage

Combustion Icon Combustion is your only real DPS cooldown. It creates a new DoT on your current target that will tick for 20% of the Ignite Icon Ignite DoT already present on this target. Combustion does not take Living Bomb Icon Living Bomb or the Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast DoT into account anymore. Always use Combustion after landing a big critical hit (or a series thereof) with Pyroblast.

Alter Time Icon Alter Time returns you to your current location, health, mana, buffs, and debuffs when you cast it a second time or after 6 seconds. We advise you to always use it in conjunction with a powerful trinket proc/on-use effect (the duration of which will be extended for 6 seconds) or when Pyroblast! Icon Pyroblast! is up (to have it up again 6 seconds later). Alter Time also works with Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind (if you chose it as a Tier 1 talent). Finally, you can use it to bypass encounter mechanics, for example before receiving a large amount of damage or a dangerous debuff.

Proper usage of Combustion Icon Combustion and Alter Time Icon Alter Time is crucial for achieving high DPS as a Fire Mage, especially when you combine these two abilities with Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind. Make sure to read our more advanced section on the usage of Combustion, Alter Time, and Presence of Mind.

Mirror Image Icon Mirror Image is a very small DPS cooldown, which you should use when the images can attack the boss for their entire duration (30 seconds).

2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

As we explained in the Talents page, choose your Mage Bomb according to how many enemies you are facing and whether they are stacked or not.

When fighting 2 to 4 enemies, keep your Mage Bomb up on all of them. Keep your Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast DoT up on all of them by targeting them successively with your instant-cast Pyroblasts. If the targets are stacked, simply use Inferno Blast Icon Inferno Blast to spread your DoTs.

When fighting 5 or more high health enemies, they will normally be tanked together, so use Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold (glyphed) on cooldown, apply your Mage Bomb on as many of them as possible, and use Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion as a filler.

When fighting 5 or more low health enemies (that is to say, enemies who will not leave long enough for your Mage Bomb deal its full damage), use Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold on cooldown and spam Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion as a filler.

Avoid Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike. It is only worth using if there is nothing else available to DPS and enemies will soon spawn and be tanked at a predefined location.

3. Armors↑top

Your only viable choice of armor is Molten Armor Icon Molten Armor.

4. Optional Read: Mastering Your Fire Mage↑top

While the rotations we gave in the previous sections will yield very good results, there are a few things you should be aware of, in order to play your Fire Mage to its full potential.

4.1. Pyroblast and Heating Up

A critical strike with Fireball Icon Fireball, Inferno Blast Icon Inferno Blast (which is guaranteed to crit), Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast (instant-cast or not), Frostfire Bolt Icon Frostfire Bolt (which is not normally part of your rotation), and Scorch Icon Scorch will grant you Heating Up Icon Heating Up. Scoring a second critical strike in a row will transform Heating Up Icon Heating Up into Pyroblast! Icon Pyroblast!, granting you an instant-cast, mana-free Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.

Heating Up Icon Heating Up and Pyroblast! Icon Pyroblast! are two different buffs, which is an important distinction as you can have them up at the same time on a target. This means that if you score a third critical strike in a row before using your instant-cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast, this critical strike will not be wasted. If, however, you score a fourth critical strike in a row without using your instant-cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast, then your new Heating Up Icon Heating Up will transform into Pyroblast! Icon Pyroblast! and override your previous buff, effectively wasting it.

Note that Critical Mass Icon Critical Mass multiplies the critical strike chance of your Fireball Icon Fireball, Frostfire Bolt Icon Frostfire Bolt, Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast, and Scorch Icon Scorch spells. It makes it easier to get instant-cast Pyroblasts.

4.2. Ignite

Mastery: Ignite Icon Mastery: Ignite is your Mists of Pandaria Mastery. It increases the damage that Ignite Icon Ignite does on your target. Ignite is a DoT that is applied and refreshed when you deal damage with Fireball Icon Fireball, Frostfire Bolt Icon Frostfire Bolt, Inferno Blast Icon Inferno Blast, Scorch Icon Scorch, or Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast. In Cataclysm, it used to be only triggered by critical strikes.

As you can see in the tooltip, when Ignite Icon Ignite is refreshed, it creates a new 4-second DoT and whatever remained on the DoT that was refreshed is added to the new DoT.

4.3. Combustion, Alter Time, and Presence of Mind

When cast, Combustion Icon Combustion creates a new DoT on your target. Every second, it will tick for an amount that represents 20% of the current value of your Ignite Icon Ignite DoT.

Your goal is to always cast Combustion Icon Combustion with a high Ignite Icon Ignite. This is not always possible, but at times, you can reach very high Ignite values by properly combining Alter Time Icon Alter Time and Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind. This is a key aspect of playing a Fire Mage to its full potential.

Barring any encounter-specific requirements, you should be using Glyph of Combustion Icon Glyph of Combustion, which gives your Combustion Icon Combustion a 90-second cooldown and a 20-second duration. This way, every other cast of Combustion will benefit from the very high Ignite Icon Ignite values you can reach thanks to Alter Time Icon Alter Time.

When casting Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast, it always takes a bit for your Ignite Icon Ignite to be refreshed (because Pyroblast needs to travel to the target), so you may sometimes find yourself casting Fireball Icon Fireball when your Ignite becomes high enough for Combustion Icon Combustion. For this reason, we advise you to use a /stopcasting macro for casting Combustion.

4.3.1. Tips for Combustion when Alter Time is on Cooldown

Between each cast of Alter Time Icon Alter Time, you will be able to cast Combustion Icon Combustion once. This will not be a very damaging Combustion, compared to the ones you will cast in combination with Alter Time and Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind, but you should still try and get the best out of them.

To get a high Ignite Icon Ignite without Alter Time, do the following.

  1. Set up a situation where you have Heating Up Icon Heating Up and Pyroblast! Icon Pyroblast! up at the same time (usually, by upgrading a Heating Up Icon Heating Up with Inferno Blast Icon Inferno Blast and casting Fireball Icon Fireball until Heating Up Icon Heating Up procs again).
  2. Use our Heating Up trick to consume your Pyroblast! Icon Pyroblast! and increase your chances to get another instant-cast Pyroblast.
  3. If you get another instant-cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast, then cast it and cast Combustion Icon Combustion. If you do not, you can cast Combustion Icon Combustion anyway or use Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind+Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast to try and increase the value of Ignite Icon Ignite. Note that this does not always work, unless the Pyroblast from Presence of Mind critically hits (these instant-cast Pyroblast do not get the +25% increased damage buff that the instant-cast Pyroblasts from your critical strikes do get).

In any case, do not delay this cast of Combustion Icon Combustion, because it would just end up delaying the much more damaging Combustion that you would get when Alter Time Icon Alter Time is available.

4.3.2. Tips for Combustion when Alter Time is available

Thanks to Alter Time Icon Alter Time, you can get many instant-cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblasts in a row, allowing you to build a very high Ignite Icon Ignite for your Combustion Icon Combustion. Proceed as explained below.

  1. Set up a situation where you have Heating Up Icon Heating Up and Pyroblast! Icon Pyroblast! up at the same time (usually, by upgrading a Heating Up Icon Heating Up with Inferno Blast Icon Inferno Blast and casting Fireball Icon Fireball until Heating Up Icon Heating Up procs again).
  2. Cast Fireball Icon Fireball and immediately pop your Alter Time Icon Alter Time macro.
  3. Depending on whether your spells score critical strikes on not, you will be able to cast a number of Pyroblast Icon Pyroblasts before finally consuming Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind (which is cast by the macro). When this happens, use your Alter Time Icon Alter Time macro again and keep casting Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast until you finally consume Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind again.
  4. Cast Combustion Icon Combustion. Note that you should always cast Combustion before the Pyroblast from Presence of Mind hits the target, because these Pyroblasts do not benefit from the +25% increased damage that instant-cast Pyroblasts from your critical strikes do get. So cast Combustion while the Pyroblast from Presence of Mind is traveling.

4.3.3. Presence of Mind

Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind should always be used on Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast to help create a high Ignite Icon Ignite DoT on your target before casting Combustion Icon Combustion.

4.4. Opening Sequence

We advise you to use the following opening sequence (or opener).

5. Changelog↑top

  • 05 Mar. 2014: Added a number of tips from Vykina in the rotation sections and in the sections about Combustion and Presence of Mind.
  • 11 Sep. 2013: Removed tip about switching to Mage Armor Icon Mage Armor for Combustion Icon Combustion (no longer valid with 5.4 nerf).
  • 10 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4: nothing to change.
  • 01 Jul. 2013: Added Evocation Icon Evocation to opening sequence.
  • 07 Jun. 2013: Updated multiple-target section after 2 weeks of Patch 5.3 raiding.
  • 25 May 2013: Living Bomb Icon Living Bomb is now the best option for single-target situations. Multiple-target rotation still needs to be updated, but another lockout of testing is needed. Added a tip regarding using Mage Armor Icon Mage Armor during Alter Time Icon Alter Time to increase Combustion Icon Combustion's damage.
  • 20 May 2013: Patch 5.3 update: nothing changed (may need to review AoE rotation after a few days of raiding).
  • 17 Apr. 2013: Update after Blatty's review of the guide.
    • Improved single-target rotation.
    • Improved AoE rotation.
    • Added section with a lot of tips for setting up Combustion Icon Combustion.
    • Added opening sequence.
    • Emphasised the importance of Blazing Speed Icon Blazing Speed over the other two Tier 1 talents in the talents cooldown section.
  • 29 Mar. 2013: Moved advice to use Scorch Icon Scorch while moving directly into the rotation section at the beginning of the article. This will make it clearer.
  • 10 Mar. 2013: Made multiple-target rotation explanations clearer so that it can no longer be understood that Inferno Blast Icon Inferno Blast spreads Living Bomb Icon Living Bomb.
  • 07 Mar. 2013: Patch 5.2 update.
    • Updated multiple-target rotation to reflect the fact that Glyph of Inferno Blast Icon Glyph of Inferno Blast (formerly Glyph of Fire Blast) now spread DoTs to an additional nearby target.
    • Updated value of Invocation Icon Invocation's buff: was 25%, is 15% now.