Frost Mage DPS Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs (MoP 5.4)

General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent and glyph choices for Frost Mages in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. We detail what each of the talents and glyphs do and in which situations they should be taken.

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

About Our Reviewers

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Kuni, one of the best Frost Mages in the world, who raids in Midnight Sanctuary.

1. Talent Choices↑top

Level Choices
15 Presence of Mind Blazing Speed Ice Floes
30 Temporal Shield Flameglow Ice Barrier
45 Ring of Frost Ice Ward Frostjaw
60 Greater Invisibility Cauterize Cold Snap
75 Nether Tempest Living Bomb Frost Bomb
90 Invocation Rune of Power Incanter's Ward
+ show color blind markers - hide color blind markers
  • Performance-enhancing
  • Survival
  • Crowd Control
  • Movement
  • Utility
  • Situational

There is no longer such a thing as a default build. Most of the talents are now viable. They can easily be changed, thanks to Dust of Disappearance Icon Dust of Disappearance (and Tome of the Clear Mind Icon Tomes of the Clear Mind from level 86 to 90). You will frequently find yourself changing talents and glyphs between encounters, in order to adapt your play style to different mechanics. Therefore, it is important to understand what each of your talents does and how they affect your play style.

2. Tier 1 Talents↑top

Tier 1 talents have been designed with mobility in mind. You have the choice between:

  • Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind, which grants you an instant-cast for the spell of your choice every 90 seconds;
  • Blazing Speed Icon Blazing Speed, which suppresses slowing effects and increases your movement speed by 150% for 1.5 seconds (on a 25-second cooldown);
  • Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes, which allows you to cast a spell while moving (the spell has 3 charges, with a recharge time of 20 seconds).

The choice between Blazing Speed Icon Blazing Speed and Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes depends on the type of movement during the encounter. Blazing Speed provides you with emergency movement, for when you need to move really fast for a short period of time. Blazing Speed is a good complement to Blink Icon Blink. So, if you think Blink is not enough to handle all the emergency movement, then use Blazing Speed. Otherwise, use Ice Floes (which is much better from a DPS perspective).

Presence of Mind Icon Presence of Mind does provide a very small DPS gain on encounters that do not require movement, but these encounters do not really exist (even in LFR).

3. Tier 2 Talents↑top

Tier 2 talents have been designed with survivability in mind.

  • Temporal Shield Icon Temporal Shield which offers 15% damage taken reduction for 4 seconds, on a 25-second cooldown. Every time you take damage while this damage reduction is active, it is healed back over the course of 6 seconds.
  • Flameglow Icon Flameglow grants you a passive shield that always absorbs a bit of the damage you receive.
  • Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier absorbs a quantity of damage (the absorption effect scales with Spell Power) and prevents spellcasting from being delayed, while active.

Temporal Shield Icon Temporal Shield should be the default choice here, because it is off the global cooldown, meaning that using it is not a DPS loss. Use it before taking large hits.

Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier is useful when you need the extra life it provides to survive an attack that would otherwise kill you.

Flameglow Icon Flameglow is not as powerful as Temporal Shield or Ice Barrier, but it provides its shield passively, which may be more suited to the occasional player.

4. Tier 3 Talents↑top

Tier 3 talents have been designed with crowd control in mind. Whichever talent you will choose will depend on the encounter, but we think that these talents are mostly for PvP and will be most often be irrelevant in PvE. You have the choice between:

  • Ring of Frost Icon Ring of Frost, which summons a 10-yard ring that lasts for 10 seconds and that freezes, for 10 seconds, enemies entering it (up to a maximum of 10 enemies);
  • Ice Ward Icon Ice Ward, which causes all enemies within 10 yards of a friendly target to become frozen for 5 seconds when the target is struck;
  • Frostjaw Icon Frostjaw, which silences and freezes the target in place for 8 seconds.

5. Tier 4 Talents↑top

Tier 4 talents have been designed with survival in mind. You have the choice between:

  • Greater Invisibility Icon Greater Invisibility, which improves Invisibility Icon Invisibility, giving it an instant effect and making you take 90% less damage while Invisibility is active (and for 3 seconds after coming out of Invisibility);
  • Cauterize Icon Cauterize, which causes an attack that would otherwise kill you to instead bring you to 50% of your maximum health, after which you will burn for 40% of your maximum health over 6 seconds;
  • Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap, which finishes the cooldown of your Ice Block Icon Ice Block, Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova, and Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold while also restoring 30% of your maximum health.

Greater Invisibility Icon Greater Invisibility and Cauterize Icon Cauterize are your two options, here. Whichever you will choose mostly comes down to personal preferences.

Greater Invisibility Icon Greater Invisibility is a great damage mitigation tool, which you can also use to remove DoTs and effects, such as Mark of Arrogance Icon Mark of Arrogance, from the Sha of Pride.

Cauterize Icon Cauterize can be used to maximise your DPS by standing still instead of moving away to avoid a damaging boss ability. You can also simply consider it as an extra life for whenever you mess up. Remember to follow it up with Ice Block Icon Ice Block, if you feel that your healers will not manage to heal the DoT that Cauterize leaves on you (it hits pretty hard).

6. Tier 5 Talents↑top

Tier 5 talents provide you with abilities that will become an integral part of your rotation.

  • Nether Tempest Icon Nether Tempest deals damage over time to a target. Each time it ticks, Nether Tempest also deals half the damage to a random target within 10 yards.
  • Living Bomb Icon Living Bomb deals damage over time to a target. When it expires or the target dies, Living Bomb also deals damage to up to 3 other targets within 10 yards. Living Bomb cannot be applied on more than 3 enemies.
  • Frost Bomb Icon Frost Bomb deals delayed damage to a target, also dealing half of that damage to all other targets within 10 yards. In addition, affected targets are slowed by 70% for 2 seconds.

All Tier 5 talents are viable. Use the following cheatsheet to decide which talent to choose:

In Siege of Orgrimmar, here is what Oltier (one of our Mage moderators) advises for Normal encounters:

In Siege of Orgrimmar, here is what Akraen advises for Heroic encounters:

7. Tier 6 Talents↑top

Tier 6 talents are mana management talents.

  • Invocation Icon Invocation removes the cooldown of Evocation Icon Evocation. After completing an Evocation, you gain Invoker's Energy Icon Invoker's Energy, which lasts 1 minute and increase your spell damage by 15%. While Invoker's Energy is active, you passively regenerate 50% less mana.
  • Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power summons a rune which causes you, when standing in it, to regenerate 75% more mana and to deal 15% increased spell damage. You also regenerate 1% health every second if you have Glyph of Evocation Icon Glyph of Evocation. This spell replaces Evocation Icon Evocation and the rune that it summons disappears after 1 minute.
  • Incanter's Ward Icon Incanter's Ward passively increases damage done by 6%. When used, it places an absorption shield on you for 8 seconds. When the shield disappears, you gain up to 15% increased spell damage for 25 seconds and you restore up to 18% mana. The strength of the effect depends on the amount of damage that was absorbed. The effect is maximised when the shield disappears because it has been entirely consumed. If the shield disappears because the 8 seconds have run out, then you will only get a fraction of the effect.

Invocation Icon Invocation is your best option as a Frost Mage. It allows for great mobility, so strive for 100% uptime on the Invoker's Energy Icon Invoker's Energy buff provided by this talent, as this is the most significant factor in a Frost Mage's DPS.

Incanter's Ward Icon Incanter's Ward is viable and roughly 3% behind Invocation in terms of DPS. However, it must only be used passively and never activated. This may be beneficial to some players looking to have a simpler rotation.

8. Major Glyphs↑top

None of your major glyphs will be mandatory. Some will increase your DPS in very specific situations, others will improve your survivability or make some spells more useful.

DPS-increasing glyphs are listed below.

  • Glyph of Icy Veins Icon Glyph of Icy Veins modifies some of your spells while Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins is active, at the expense of the +20% spell haste increase. The idea is to allow you to keep using Icy Veins together with Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust / Heroism Icon Heroism / Time Warp Icon Time Warp after this combination caused you to reduce the global cooldown to 1 second, meaning that some of your haste would be wasted when casting instant spells. To sum up the modifications that this glyph brings while Icy Veins is active, your Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt Icon Frostfire Bolt, and Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance will deal roughly 20% more damage.
  • Glyph of Cone of Cold Icon Glyph of Cone of Cold increases the damage of Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold by 200%. This can be extremely useful for dealing with adds that will live for a very short time.
  • Glyph of Splitting Ice Icon Glyph of Splitting Ice causes your Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance and Icicles from your Mastery: Icicles Icon Mastery: Icicles to hit a second target for 50% of the damage. This will be useful in fights with adds.
  • Glyph of Water Elemental Icon Glyph of Water Elemental grants more health to your Water Elemental and enables it to cast while moving. Also, this glyph makes your Water Elemental smarter than ever before. Indeed, you can set it to automatically follow you during fights.
  • Glyph of Arcane Explosion Icon Glyph of Arcane Explosion increases the radius of Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion by 5 yards. It can be useful in AoE situations with a large number of enemies that are not stacking.

For Tier 15 and Tier 16 encounters, Glyph of Icy Veins Icon Glyph of Icy Veins, Glyph of Cone of Cold Icon Glyph of Cone of Cold, and Glyph of Water Elemental Icon Glyph of Water Elemental (single-target fights) / Glyph of Splitting Ice Icon Glyph of Splitting Ice (multiple-target fights) are advised.

The other potentially useful major glyphs are listed below.

  • Glyph of Blink Icon Glyph of Blink increases the distance you travel with Blink Icon Blink by 8 yards.
  • Glyph of Counterspell Icon Glyph of Counterspell grants the ability to cast Counterspell Icon Counterspell while channeling or casting another spell, at the expense of increasing its cooldown by 4 seconds. This glyph will be beneficial every time you will be on interrupt duty.
  • Glyph of Evocation Icon Glyph of Evocation adds a self-healing component to Evocation Icon Evocation and Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power. This will be a default major glyph when none of the others can provide anything useful for the encounter(s) you are progressing on.
  • Glyph of Ice Block Icon Glyph of Ice Block causes Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova to be automatically cast, at no mana cost, when Ice Block Icon Ice Block terminates, after which time you are granted a 3-second immunity against all spells.
  • Glyph of Rapid Displacement Icon Glyph of Rapid Displacement causes Blink Icon Blink to now have two charges, on a 15-second recharge time. This is an extremely beneficial glyph, because it basically allows you to use Blink Icon Blink twice in a row. The downside is that Blink Icon Blink no longer frees you from stuns and bonds.
  • Glyph of Remove Curse Icon Glyph of Remove Curse is a nice glyph to have in a fight where you must use Remove Curse Icon Remove Curse. That said, the temporary damage boost it provides does not compensate for the global cooldown it costs to cast Remove Curse.

9. Minor Glyphs↑top

Among the minor glyphs, only Glyph of Momentum Icon Glyph of Momentum is of interest. It will allow you to blink in the direction where you are going. It can be very useful if you are moving sideways and want to keep facing the boss.

10. Changelog↑top

  • 03 Mar. 2014: Added Frost Mage specific advice for Tier 5 talents and improved explanations for Tier 4 and Tier 6 talents.
  • 04 Feb. 2014: Updated Tier 5 advice on Blatty's advice.
  • 30 Sep. 2013: Kuni's review: updated Tier 2 talent choices, removed Tier 15 advice for Bomb spell, and added that Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power is slightly better than Invocation Icon Invocation for stationary fights.
  • 10 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4 update.
  • 14 Aug. 2013: Improved advice for choosing Tier 5 talents.
  • 15 Jun. 2013: Living Bomb Icon Living Bomb is now the advised Tier 5 talent for Megaera.
  • 05 Jun. 2013: After 2 weeks of Patch 5.3 raiding, explanations for Tier 5 talents have been fixed.
  • 25 May 2013: Living Bomb Icon Living Bomb is now the best single-target Tier 5 talent, but more testing is needed for other situations.
  • 20 May 2013: Patch 5.3 update: need to wait for a few days before updating Tier 5 talent recommendations. Updated explanations for Incanter's Ward Icon Incanter's Ward.
  • 17 Apr. 2013: Update after Blatty's review of the guide.
    • Improved advice for choosing your Tier 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 talents.
    • Improved advice for choosing your Major Glyphs.
  • 07 Mar. 2013: Patch 5.2 update.
    • Rewrote explanations for Tier 1 talents, as Scorch Icon Scorch has been replaced with Blazing Speed Icon Blazing Speed.
    • Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes' cooldown has been reduced to 45 seconds.
    • Rewrote explanations for Tier 2 talents, as Flameglow Icon Flameglow has replaced Blazing Speed Icon Blazing Speed.
    • Modified description of Invocation Icon Invocation to reflect the changes from 5.2.
    • Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power now increases mana regeneration by 75% (was 100%).
    • Glyph of Evocation Icon Glyph of Evocation restores less health than previously.
    • Glyph of Fire Blast was removed from the game.
    • Glyph of Ice Lance now causes Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance to deal 50% damage to 1 additional target, up from 40%.