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Fire Mage DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.0.3)

Last updated on Jul 18, 2016 at 10:08 by Furty 31 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Fire Mage core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.0.3. 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 Author and Reviewer

This guide has been written by Furty who raids in Serenity, the number #1 World of Warcraft guild. He plays most classes at the highest level. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him play on Twitch.

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Arold, a Fire Mage who raids in Limit.

1. Ability Priority List

  • 3 or more loosely stacked targets?
  1. Use Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power when Combustion Icon Combustion is off cooldown.
  2. Use Combustion Icon Combustion when it is off cooldown.
  3. Use Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power if it has 2 charges.
  4. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast when you are on a Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak.
  5. Cast Meteor Icon Meteor if it is talented and off cooldown.
  6. Cast Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath if Combustion Icon Combustion is about to expire and you have no time to cast any other spells.
  7. Cast Flame On Icon Flame On if talented, is off cooldown, and you currently have no charges of Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast.
  8. Cast Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath if it is off cooldown and you are able to safely stand within melee range.
  9. Cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast when you are Heating Up Icon Heating Up.
  10. Cast Fireball Icon Fireball to generate Heating Up Icon Heating Up.
  11. Cast Scorch Icon Scorch if you have to move, have no charges of Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes, and have no instant casts to burn.

The core component of this specialization is chaining as many Critical Strikes together as possible to maintain large Ignite Icon Ignites. Fire is an extremely reactive specialization, meaning that most of your optimizations will occur moment to moment, rather than planning a large damage dump minutes in advance.

For more information on your opening sequence, please refer to our dedicated section.

2. Important Notes

2.1. Show Me Your Crits & Effectively Creating Crit Trains

Understanding how to generate Critical Strikes as efficiently as possible is key to utilizing Fire effectively. This is a specialization that is designed to crit more often than not, so it is easy to understand why learning to execute the right combos to create a chain of crits is of paramount importance.

Whenever you get a Heating Up Icon Heating Up proc, you should convert it to a Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak using Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast. Generally, you will then want to cast a Fireball Icon Fireball, and immediately spend your Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak on a Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast as your Fireball Icon Fireball cast finishes. Both of these spells will strike at the same time, generating the largest possible ignite and the chance at an immediate follow up Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak if both of them critically strike. If only one of the spells critically strikes, Heating Up Icon Heating Up will proc and you can immediately Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast and repeat this process. This is known as "Pyroblast Fishing" and is the best way to create a large chain of crits. The exception to this rule is during Combustion Icon Combustion, where spells will crit, allowing you to chain together a variety of combos that will be covered in more detail later in the guide.

If Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast is on cooldown when Heating Up Icon Heating Up activates, there are a few options available to you. If there are only a few seconds on the cooldown of Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast, you can use the downtime to cast defensive spells like Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier, or reposition to a new location with Blink Icon Blink. Alternatively, you can cast offensive spells that do not trigger Heating Up Icon Heating Up or cause it to be cancelled, such as Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath. Finally, if there is still a moderate amount of time on the cooldown of Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast, you should just cast a second Fireball Icon Fireball and cross your fingers that it critically strikes.

2.1.1. Spells That Do Not Trigger or Cancel Heating Up

2.2. Pillar of Flame & When to Flamestrike

Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike has been reworked to now function as an alternative spell to spend Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak on. Similar to Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast, it has an extremely long cast time, and you should never hard cast it during an encounter, regardless of the number of enemies present. Rather, when a certain number of targets are present (4 or more), you will switch from spending your Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak procs on Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast to Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike. Ignite Icon Ignite is also applied by Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike. You should treat Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike the same way you would treat Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast rotationally, and follow the same spell priority you would on a single target. The main difference between Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast and Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike is that Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike cannot generate Heating Up Icon Heating Up or Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak, making crit chains less likely. Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike is a targeted ability, so it can be helpful to already have the reticle placed during your Fireball Icon Fireball cast, allowing you to instantly Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike.

2.3. Rune of Power

Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power is a medium length cooldown that is best used to apply significant pressure during its duration. You should always overlap Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power and Combustion Icon Combustion, as they both last 10 seconds. Start by casting Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power, and immediately activating Combustion Icon Combustion at the end of the cast, so they will both end at the same time. Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power does have 2 charges, allowing you to save the second for a usage of your choice. Good times to use your second rune charge:

  • to push a damage check;
  • when several advantageous procs overlap;
  • during a period of zero movement;
  • on AoE.

Remember that Kindling Icon Kindling will dramatically change the timing of your Combustion Icon Combustion, and you will have to plan your Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power usage accordingly to ensure you always have a charge available.

2.4. The Fantastic (Tier) Four & Flame On

Using Flame On Icon Flame On effectively will allow you to milk a few extra crits out of every fight. Flame On Icon Flame On is instant cast, and it does not trigger the Global Cooldown & however, it is "locked" to the GCD, meaning that it cannot be used while you are casting something else. Flame On Icon Flame On should be used almost on cooldown, but there are a few factors to watch out for. Primarily, you will want to make sure you currently have no available charges of Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast, as overwriting them would be wasteful. Secondly, you will want to ensure that Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast was recently put on cooldown. If there are only a few seconds until a charge comes off cooldown, it is worth waiting to spend that charge before activating Flame On Icon Flame On. Finally, you will want to pay close attention to your cooldown timers. If you plan on using Combustion Icon Combustion or Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power (or both) within the cooldown period of Flame On Icon Flame On (45 seconds), then you should delay usage of Flame On Icon Flame On so you can properly line up with these cooldown windows.

2.5. Ice Barrier

Since this ability is now baseline to all mage specs, do not forget to cast this any time you have to reposition and Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes is not available. It lasts for 60 seconds, but only have a 25 second cooldown, meaning that you can and should cast it before the start of every engagement.

2.6. Scorch

You should avoid casting Scorch Icon Scorch, as it is extremely weak and cannot be used to "Pyro Fish". If you have to move and Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes, Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier, or Blink Icon Blink are all not available, then Scorch Icon Scorch is a usable alternative. It is important not to get in the habit of overusing Scorch Icon Scorch, however, as it is a very weak spell. Many players will lean on this spell too heavily as a crutch when they should be focused on improving their positioning and movement efficiency.

3. Core Concepts

Fire Mage is an elementary enough specialization to perform on a target dummy, but there are a few key factors that will separate the good from the great. Learning to focus on what is important and master the core concepts of a specialization is what leads to strong overall performance on the damage charts. There are 3 major concepts that form the central trinity of optimizing for success:

  1. proper use of Combustion Icon Combustion;
  2. critical Strike chains;
  3. movement management.

Managing movement is a fundamental skill shared by all the caster classes in World of Warcraft. The highly mobile nature of the Mage class allows flexible and creative ways to move during combat, making it of supreme importance that you give this the proper respect.

3.1. Combustion Usage

Combustion Icon Combustion should be used on cooldown whenever possible. You should always overlap Combustion Icon Combustion with other damage boosts that allow for a large overall Ignite Icon Ignite, such as Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power and Flame On Icon Flame On.

Before activating Combustion Icon Combustion you should generate a Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak. You should also try and save at least one charge of Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast, though preferably both charges will be available. Then follow this list of actions.

  1. Place your Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power (if talented) and immediately activate Combustion Icon Combustion as this cast finishes.
  2. Consume your Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak with a Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast cast.
  3. Immediately cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast and Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast again.
  4. Repeat this process, using Flame On Icon Flame On to replenish your Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast charges when you run out. The goal is to fit as many Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast casts as possible into your Combustion Icon Combustion window.
  5. If Combustion Icon Combustion is about to end, and you do not have a Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak, cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast, or if you do not have time to finish a Fireball Icon Fireball cast, cast Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath.

3.2. Critical Strike Chains

We talked about "Pyro Fishing" earlier in the guide, so there is no need to go over it in detail again here. It should not be understated, however, how important properly chaining together your abilities is, and the overall impact it has on your DPS. This is especially true on cleave, as building a smooth and powerful Ignite Icon Ignite will determine how much cleave and AoE you are able to output. Get used to properly chaining your spells by practicing on target dummies or in LFR.

3.3. Movement Management

While it is difficult to describe the best ways to position and move during a dungeon or raid encounter, it is essential to your success as a Fire Mage.

Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes charges set an important balance; it is important to refrain from overusing these and leaving yourself with nothing when it actually matters, but you also want to avoid letting Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes sit at 3 charges when you are moving.

Try and use Blink Icon Blink for "urgent" movement — when you need to travel from one place to another as quickly as possible. Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes should be used when you are capped on charges, or when you know you will finish an entire Fireball Icon Fireball cast while moving. Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier is a good choice when you only need to take a few steps, as it only costs a single GCD.

For phases with predictable high movement, you should treat Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes as a DPS cooldown and plan your charge usage accordingly. If you are playing with Shimmer Icon Shimmer talented, you should be using this as a pseudo Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes as it does not interrupt your cast when used. Finally, always try to position yourself in a location central to fight movement. For example, if the boss is being moved in a circle, try to stay on the inside of the kite path to ensure minimal movement.

3.3.1. Quiet Movement

Many players will unconsciously move during fights, despite it being unnecessary. For example, sometimes the boss or adds will be moved by the tank a couple yards, and though you are still in range to cast, you subconsciously mirror that movement, costing you global cooldowns. Consciously work to "quiet" your movement, and reduce unnecessary movement to a minimum. The best way to see this in action is to take a video of your raid, then watch yourself play. Most players will be surprised by the amount of wasted movement they commit. When you are forced to move, make use of the tips above, and make your path as direct and decisive as possible.

4. Opening Sequence

  1. Use Draenic Intellect Potion Icon Draenic Intellect Potion.
  2. Pre-cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast at 4.5 seconds on the countdown.
  3. Cast Fireball Icon Fireball.
  4. Cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast when Heating Up Icon Heating Up activates.
  5. Place Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power.
  6. Activate Combustion Icon Combustion.
  7. Activate any on-use trinkets or racials you have.
  8. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.
  9. Cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast.
  10. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.
  11. Activate Flame On Icon Flame On.
  12. Cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast.
  13. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.
  14. Cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast.
  15. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.
  16. Cast Fireball Icon Fireball.
  17. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.
  18. Cast Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath.

If you get any procs from Pyromaniac Icon Pyromaniac, simply use them immediately. The opener is of paramount importance. It is recommended you practice in LFR or on a target dummy to build enough muscle memory to consistently execute it without flaws.

5. ChangeLog

  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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