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Breaktheice's WoD Frost Mage Guide

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Warlords of Draenor Frost Mage Guide!



Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. What's Changed?

III. Talents and Glyphs

IV. Rotations and Cooldowns

V. Stat Priority, Gems, and Enchants

VI. Macros

VII. Other Resources

VIII. Conclusion


I. Introduction

Hi there! My name is Breaktheice and I’m a humble Frost mage who’s played Frost ever since he’s played WoW. Frost is probably the most popular mage spec in the game, and is traditionally thought to be a PvP spec. However, recent changes to the spec have made it a competitive PvE spec too! Despite there being many Simcraft tests done with Frost, I hadn’t seen anyone put up a Frost mage guide for 6.0.3 – one that could make the spec easy to understand and then master. Hopefully this guide helps you better understand and master your Frost mage.


Frost mages are good at single target DPS, but will shine most on 2 target cleave fights. They aren’t the strongest mage spec for single target or cleave/AoE damage, but they offer a best of both worlds scenario to those who play them.  Conceptually, Frost mages haven’t changed much from MoP. They still heavily rely on procs to do most of their damage. However, the reworks of talents, shift of secondary stat priorities, and the addition of new spells and talents have made the rotation slightly more complex than it was in MoP.


II. What's Changed?

Besides us no longer having access to many Fire/Arcane spells, let’s look at the biggest changes which have had an impact on our playstyle

1. Alter Time is now a talent and no longer part of your rotation – this is the single biggest change for mages in this expansion. The spell now replaces Temporal Shield as a talent. Temporal Shield has been removed (let’s all weep quietly).

2. Presence of Mind is no longer a talent – Frost mages never really used this anyway.

3. Water Elemental gets a new spell – behold! Water Jet is here and is your FoF generator on fights where you can’t utilize Freeze. 

4. Frost Bomb is your only bomb choice – Nether Tempest and Living Bomb are gone. Additionally, Frost Bomb is nothing like its former self.

5. 90 talents have been reworked – Rune of Power still stands, but is different from what it was in MoP. Invocation, the talent most Frost mages used, is no more. 

6. Brain Freeze now procs from Frostbolt – it also stacks twice as opposed to just once. 

7. Crit Soft Cap is increased – although Frost still has Shatter, the Crit soft cap is increased as Shatter’s multiplier has decreased. Don’t be all o.O if some of your Brain Freeze and Fingers of Frost proc uses don’t result in Criticals. 

8. Bye Haste, hello Multistrike – Multistrike is a new secondary stat introduced in WoD that will be your go to secondary stat in almost all builds. Haste’s value has dropped, so expect yourself to seem a bit “slower” as you go about your rotation.

9. Amplify Magic - is a raid utility cooldown you have (besides Time Warp). It will amplify all heals going out to raid members by 10% for a short duration. Because it takes a GCD, you need to be careful in deciding when you want to use it. Take note however, that in some cases, sacrificing one GCD can greatly benefit everyone else on your team, so don't be shy to use it in sticky situations, or when your healers call for it. 



III. Talents and Glyphs


+ Talents

Let's start this guide by looking at your Talent choices.


Tier 1


The choice here will depend mostly on the encounter. 

+ Evanesce works similar to how a Hunter’s Deterence works, and will let you DPS through Fire walls and large periodic hits. The major downside to this talent is that it replaces Ice Block. Ice Block works on everything Evanesce works on, but the opposite isn’t true. It works best on encounters where you would want to stand still and periodically "dodge" a projectile/spell aimed at you or at the ground below you. 


In this tier, Evanesce is the only talent that has a synergy with another talent, which is Cold Snap (see Tier 4 talents). Cold Snap’s use resets the cooldown on Evanesce, allowing back-to-back use of the spell for 6 seconds of immunity. Therefore, should you opt for Cold Snap, you could consider pairing it with Evanesce. 


+ Blazing Speed works best when you have to quickly move to either get out of danger or to close the distance between yourself and your desired target. To cover the most distance with this spell, make sure you jump just as it ends. When paired with Blink, it can help you cover large distances quickly in order to resume your rotation.


+ Ice Floes has no defense component to itself, but it’s an amazing spell when you’re faced with short periods of movement. It will basically allow you a few uses of Frostbolt or any other spell with a cast time on the move. The only thing you should remember is that you should not use this spell when a party/raid Hunter uses Aspect of the Fox. Aspect of the Fox works in the same way Ice Floes does, so there’s no point using Ice Floes while Aspect of the Fox is up.  In terms of DPS min/maxing this is probably the best talent this in this tier. Also take note that spell has received a minor buff from its MoP days. Previously, we couldn't use Ice Floes and then use channeled spells on the move. This restriction has been lifted from Ice Floes now. So you can use the spell to say, channel your Blizzard spell on the move. 


Verdict: In most cases, Ice Floes >= Blazing Speed > Evanesce


Tier 2


This is the first talent tier aimed towards offering more survival to mages. 

+ Alter Time no longer resets your procs or active buffs like it did in MoP. Instead, it is purely defensive. It resets your position and health after 10 seconds. You can choose to end this prematurely as long as you re-cast Alter Time in the 10s window of its duration. Although this spell usually involves planning and timing, it does not use a GCD. So in most cases is your go-to spell in this tier. It’s best used when you’re at or near full HP, just before massive damage goes out. Be warned however that its position reset can sometimes result in trouble, and occasionally, death. Therefore planning is required to properly use this spell. 


+ Flameglow is a passive shield that requires no management on part of the mage. This is countered by the fact that it is a weak PvE talent and will only out shine Ice Barrier if you take enough damage instances in 25 seconds (at least 16 of them). In most cases you would want to avoid this talent. 


+ Ice Barrier is a straightforward spell. It places a barrier on you that absorbs some damage and prevents spell pushback delay while it’s up. The strength of the barrier is determined by your spell power at the time you cast the spell. Therefore, if you have strong int procs, you can get a bigger shield. However you should be spending the GCDs during said procs on your offensive spells, not on a Barrier. 


Verdict: In most raid encounters, Alter Time > Ice Barrier > Flameglow. The justification for this is that an Ice Barrier will not be effective when you have healers to back you up and in some cases put better shields on you. With regards to Flameglow, most encounters don't have enough consistent damage to make Flameglow worth it. Alter Time can help you reset your health and position. Use it before a large damage phase, or before a split movement (should you want to collapse back to the same spot).


Tier 3


These spells have little to no impact on your PvE performance and it doesn’t matter what you choose. In some cases, Ring of Frost or Frostjaw can help should you need additional CC/Silence. However such events are rare in PvE. 


Verdict: Whatever you like. 


Tier 4


This is your second survival tier. 

+ Greater Invisibility is an amazing survival cooldown which offers you at least 4 seconds of near invulnerability, which allows you to cheese many death mechanics or survive large hits. Also resets threat and removes DoTs off you. One of the best spells you could ask for. 


+ Cauterize works as a Get Out of Jail Free card and can save you from blunders. Be warned however that the burn you face after this spell activates can hurt. If this burn is followed by additional damage, it will usually kill you. This spell should be followed up with Ice Block (to remove the DoT off yourself) if you're by yourself. If you have healers assisting you, call out for a heal to ensure they can keep you up through your burn phase.


+ Cold Snap is an on demand heal that also resets the cooldown of some of your spells. This talent can cover a base that mages otherwise don't excel at (an on demand heal). However, this is a very niche talent in raids, because the liability of not having a self heal isn't really felt in raids for two reasons. The first being that mages have methods of quickly avoiding harm or cheating death with spells like Blink, Greater Inivisbility, and Ice Block. The second being that your raid healers can often heal you in encounters without the need of you having to self heal yourself. 


Cold Snap can also serve as a small DPS boost as it lets you cast Cone of Cold back-to-back by resetting its cool-down. Additionally, Cold Snap will also reset Ice Block, but will not allow you to use it back to back because of a 30 second debuff Ice Block puts on you upon use which prevents re-use for the duration of the debuff. Take note however that should you opt for Evanesce as your Tier 1 talent, this debuff no longer applies. And since Evanesce replaces Ice Block, Cold Snap will reset its cooldown. This allows you to use Evanesce back-to-back for a 6 second period of immunity from many boss mechanics and incoming damage.  


Verdict: The choice here will come down to what you think serves you best with regards to the encounter and/or what you're trying to do. For example, Greater Invisibility will help you greatly on encounters where you know exactly when to use it. However, unfamiliarity with an encounters makes this difficult, and Cauterize could then be a better option, especially because your healers can heal you back up once it procs (so its DoT penalty can be somewhat ignored should you coordinate well). Similarly, Cold Snap will shine in any scenario where you need either the heal (it's off the GCD so it doesn't stop your DPS) or the back-to-back use of some spells. Generally speaking, Greater Invisibility's ability to remove DoTs and give you at least 4 seconds of near immunity tends to outshine the other options when properly used. 


Tier 5


This tier is extremely crucial for putting up good DPS numbers and synergizes well with some other talents. First, a look at Frost Bomb. 


+ Frost Bomb is entirely different from what it was in MoP. For starters, does NO damage on its own. It is merely a debuff you put on your target that, when hit with Ice Lances that benefit from Shatter (FoF Ice Lances or a frozen target) will cause an explosion on the target, and to all enemies within 10 yards of the target. In raid encounters, if you don’t have Fingers of Frost, do NOT put a Frost Bomb on your target. This is arguably the most complicated talent choice in this tier, because it slightly alters your rotation and forces you to bank FoF procs prior to its use. This is balanced by the fact that it has the best cleave damage of all the spells in this tier. It can also provide amazing damage when properly used with Prismatic Crystal. 


+ Unstable Magic is the passive in this tier, therefore requires no management whatsoever. The way this spell works is by passively giving a chance to your Frostbolt and Frostfire Bolts to explode upon impact, dealing additional damage to your target, and to all other targets within 8 yards of that target. Therefore if you are ever confused, not able to use the other two choices properly, or just want to relax and play casually, you could opt for this talent. It (along with Frost Bomb) is slightly weak on mobility encounters, because you cannot cast Frostbolt on the move. It tends to also lag behind the other talents when you're looking to min/max.


+ Ice Nova is a powerful, instant case nuke that has 2 charges and rebuilds charges once every 25 seconds. It wins on single target encounters versus the other two talents. Although it loses to Frost Bomb on cleave encounters, it balances this out with the fact that it can be used on the move and is generally easier to use as well since it doesn't require any FoF set up. 


The important thing to remember with this spell is you should never cast it on yourself or an ally in PvE situations, as this will cost you DPS. To prevent this from accidentally happening, use a macro. There is a macro provided in the macros section of the guide.


Verdict: Ice Nova should be your go-to on single target encounters and/or heavy movement encounters. Frost Bomb is the best pick you have for multiple target fights where you need to do collateral damage to a lot of enemies.


Tier 6


+ Mirror Images is your best option on single target encounters. It is also the best option if you want to tunnel onto 1 target of interest among many enemies. The images will not mimic all your casts, but instead will cast Frostbolt only. An added bonus is that they also drop your threat for their duration. Images also have great synergy with Thermal Void (tier 7 talent), though this requires a set up to properly utilize. They do NOT target your Prismatic Crystal (tier 7 talent). Note that Images inherit your secondary stats (but not Mastery), and they inherit these on-the-fly, not by a snapshot on cast. 


+ Rune of Power has survived the MoP change and is still here, except it has no mana regeneration now and lasts 3 minutes instead of 1. This will be your go-to talent for multiple target encounters, provided the movement in such encounters is low enough to allow you a lot of up-time inside your Rune. Its concept is simple. So long as you're in the Rune, you gain a 15% spell power boost. Step out of the rune and this buff is lost. There's also a limit on the number of runes you can have up at a time, which is two.


+ Incanter’s Flow may sound complex, but it basically cycles through 4% - 20% spell power and then back down to 4% (4 > 8 > 12 > 16 > 20 > 20 > 16 > 12 > 8 > 4). This may sound complicated, but on average this is a passive 12% spell power increase. A great choice for multiple target encounters with too much movement to stay in your Rune of Power because it does not take any GCDs (as it's passive). 


Verdict: In most single target encounters, Mirror Image will be your default pick. Mirror Image also has synergy with Thermal Void (tier 7 talent). If you have selected Thermal Void, you could opt for Mirror Images. But bear in mind, taking Thermal Void doesn’t automatically mean you should be with Mirror Image. If you're on any encounter that has multiple targets, then the choice is between Rune of Power and Incanter's Flow. Take Incanter's Flow when there is too much movement to stay inside your Rune. Otherwise, go for the Rune since it does provide more spell power (overall).


Tier 7


+ Thermal Void is a passive that allows your Ice Lances to extend the duration of Icy Veins by 2 seconds. This talent can allow you, with some prep to extend your Icy Veins buff by at least 10 seconds. With the tier 17 bonus, will allow you to push it by at least 20 seconds (so twice as long, at least). Bear in mind though, the idea of running “infinite Icy Veins” with this talent is a bad idea and a DPS loss. Furthermore, you should not use non-FoF Ice Lances to maintain a longer time on Icy Veins should you pick this talent. The way to use this talent is by pre-planning it and then trying to maintain it as long as you can. I’ll explain this in more detail in the rotation section. Thermal Void is your default go-to talent should you feel like you will not get proper use of Prismatic Crystal. It is also your default go-to on multiple target encounters as Prismatic Crystal shines brightest on single target scenarios.


+ Prismatic Crystal will place a crystal at a target location (you need to place it with a target reticule, like your Blizzard spell). This crystal lasts 12 seconds and takes 10% extra damage, and can be attacked only by you. Any damage it takes will be instantly released to enemies around it (8 yards, split evenly). This spell when used properly can provide amazing burst DPS, but is also the most punishing should you not be able to use it properly. Do not take this talent if you think you will not be able to DPS into it for its full duration, or if you think your target will move away from the crystal while it’s up [ie a boss that randomly moves around]. Also take note that your Water Elemental and Mirror Images (should you opt for them) do not attack the Crystal. Furthermore, because it splits its damage evenly, this talent will shine most on single target encounters. A final thing to remember with this talent is that it will force you into the Splitting Ice glyph all the time for optimal use.


+ Comet Storm is currently too weak to even consider for serious raiding or min/maxing. The only time I’d recommend this spell is if you’re after a really pretty spell. Past that it is too weak. Furthermore, the talent lacks any synergy with the rest of Frost's kit and therefore is best avoided.


Verdict: The choice here is between Prismatic Crystal and Thermal Void. Prismatic Crystal will be your go-to on single target encounters. If however, the single target encounter will not allow you to properly turret into your crystal, then opt for Thermal Void instead. Thermal Void is your default on multiple target fights and any single target fight where for whatever reason you can't use Prismatic Crystal properly. Both Thermal Void and Prismatic Crystal will out perform Comet. 


+ Glyphs

+ Icy Veins is a glyph you'd use in almost every PvE situation, because it will change your boost from the spell to Multistrike over Haste. Currently, almost all talent choices and builds favor a Multstrike build over a Haste build.  

+ Splitting Ice should be used on multiple target encounters, and any time you opt for Prismatic Crystal. 


Other glyphs you could consider:


+ Rapid Displacement – allows for a Double Blink

+ Blink – allows you to Blink further

+ Counterspell – great if you’re on interrupt duty as it will not interrupt your rotation.

+ Ice Block/Regenerative Ice – depending on if you need the immunity/heal. Bear in mind the Ice Block heal will kill your DPS (since you will not be casting for as long as you have it healing you)

+ Water Elemental – generally not needed, though. 

+ Cone of Cold – if you will AoE

+ Momentum is a minor glyph of some interest


IV. Rotations and Cooldowns


+ Draneor Perks

In WoD, as you level from 90-100, you gain special leveling perks every 2 levels. Here is a summary of these perks. 


1. Enhanced Frostbolt - Frostbolt's cast time is reduced by 0.5 seconds. Once you benefit from this, the effect is disabled for 15 seconds. Nothing real to keep track of here.

2. Improved Icy Veins - our DPS cooldown now provides us with more Haste (if unglyphed) or more Multistrike (if glyphed)

3. Improved Blizzard - each time Blizzard deals damage, it will reduce the remaining cooldown on Frozen Orb by 0.5 seconds. In AoE situations, this perk is extremely useful. 

4. Improved Water Elemental - your Water Elemental now gets the Water Jet spell. This spell shares its cooldown with Freeze, so will be your go-to FoF generator in two situations: any single target scenario, and any situation where you can't hit targets with Freeze. 


+ Single Target Rotation

Frost does not have a set rotation that works for all talent choices anymore. Instead, your talent choices (in particular your Tier 5 talents) will slightly alter your single target rotation. To better understand this, let's take it step by step. 


+ Default Rotation

First, a look at your default single target rotation. Your spell priority in such a situation is as follows:


1. Cast Frozen Orb on cooldown

2. Cast Ice Lance anytime you have a Fingers of Frost charge

3. Cast Frostfire Bolt whenever you have a Brain Freeze charge. The Brain Freeze buff can stack twice. Before you cast Frostfire Bolt, make sure you don't have 2 Fingers of Frost charges, because Frostfire Bolt can also grant you a Fingers of Frost Charge

4. Cast Water Jet from your pet. Your goal should be to land 2 x Frostbolts on your target during the duration of Water Jet. Additionally, you should never cast Water Jet while a Frozen Orb is still out. Also never cast Water Jet when you already have charges of Fingers of Frost. Exhaust those charges first.

5. Cast Frostbolt


This is your basic single target rotation. 


Water Jet is a new spell that plays a crucial part in your single target rotation. Let's have a detailed look at Water Jet before we look at how our talent choices impact our rotation.


+ Water Jet

Water Jet is a new spell Frost mages have access to in this expansion. This is your go-to FoF generator in single target encounters and against targets that can’t be frozen with your pet's Freeze spell. By default it lasts 4 seconds, but scales with your Haste. There's no need to worry though, it will always last twice the cast time of 1 x Frostbolt. 


With Water Jet, take note of the following:

1. Your pet takes 1 second to start the spell, provided he's in rage of your target. If he's too far, he will get into range and then start the spell (will still take 1s to start the spell once he's in range).

2. Make sure Frozen Orb isn’t out while you Water Jet. Wait till your Orb terminates.

3. Make sure you have no FoF procs before Water Jet. Exhaust these before going into Water Jet.

4. Make sure you land 2 x Frostbolts on your target in your Water Jet.


After your second Frostbolt on the target during Water Jet, immediately follow through with an Ice Lance. Water Jet’s 100% chance to proc a FoF works independently of Frostbolt’s inherent chance to proc a FoF. Therefore, to avoid an override, you should use an Ice Lance as soon as the second Frostbolt is cast. This trick allows you to sometimes get 3 FoFs from a single Water Jet cast.


Also, because your pet takes 1 second to start this spell, you can always cast this spell while you are mid-way a Frostbolt cast yourself. Any Frostbolts that are in transit to your target will generate FoF for you as long as the Water Jet starts on the target while the Frostbolt is still in transit. This is why your goal should be to land 2 Frostbolts on your target during a Water Jet cast. 


However, the above also means that you have to be careful when using Water Jet. The transit time of your Frostbolt will change depending on how close or far you are from your target. For example, if you're at melee range of your target, there's no transit time. If you're too far (near 40 yds), you could accidentally start Water Jet too early. The best way to handle this is to practice on a target dummy to determine when you should cast your Water Jet based on the distance you have between yourself and your target.


Finally, never leave Water Jet on autocast. You should always manually cast it at a time when you're sure you can get 2 x Frostbolts to land on your target while Water Jet is channeled. Auto-casting Water Jet also sometimes bugs out your Elemental and he doesn't attack anymore. 


Don't forget that Water Jet shares a cooldown with your pet's Freeze ability. Using one also triggers the cooldown of the other. 


+ Frozen Orb

Frozen Orb is a powerful 1 minute cooldown spell you have access to. With Frozen Orb, take note of the following:


1. Because Frozen Orb generates Fingers of Frost charges, it isn't advised to go into a Frozen Orb with 2 FoF charges at hand. You should first exhaust these procs. There are exceptions to this rule though. If you can cast Frozen Orb and then cast Ice Lance before your Orb hits a target, you should be fine. In most cases, risking this isn't worth it though. 

2. The Frozen Orb will always travel forward from the direction you are facing. The "aiming" portion of this spell is simply making sure you are facing the target of interest.

3. The Orb lasts 10 seconds, and this timer starts to tick away as soon as you launch it. Therefore, being closer to the target helps. That said, distance isn't a major issue with Frozen Orb because it does travel fast while it looks for a target.

4. Your Orb will slow down once it hits a target. On the very first hit you are guaranteed a FoF charge. Because of this, be careful where you launch it. For example, if your targets are in a line, the Orb will slow down as soon as it hits the first target. This means the target shields the ones behind itself. To counter this, try to wait till the targets are stacked, or just move in a little and launch your Orb so that it can hit as many targets as possible. 

5. If you used to play in Mists of Pandaria, take note that while Frozen Orb is conceptually the same now as it was in MoP, its graphic has been slightly altered. Ice shards no longer visibly fly out of your Orb as it hits targets. 

6. Be very careful of uneven terrain. Frozen Orb can occasionally get stuck on tiles, steps, etc. and this will cost you a lot of damage. 



These are the basics of your rotation. Things will start to get a little complex when you throw your talents into the mix of your rotation. Let's take this one step at a time. 


+Using Unstable Magic


First, the easiest one, our passive Unstable Magic. In this case, nothing changes in our Basic Rotation whatsoever (woohoo!)


+ Using Ice Nova


Now let's look at our Ice Nova. Here, we see a new spell added onto the basic rotation.


1. Cast Frozen Orb on cool down

2. Cast Ice Nova – pretty straightforward spell. There are two things to remember with Ice Nova use. The first being that you should always have charges rolling. If you're capped at 2 charges, you're wasting DPS. The second being that you should never cast Ice Nova on yourself or an ally (macros can help you avoid this, see the macro section).

3. Cast Ice Lance when Fingers of Frost procs

4. Cast Frostfire Bolt via Brain Freeze. Remember, this spell procs Fingers of Frost too, so don’t use it if you have 2 x FoF

5. Cast Water Jet. Don't forget the Water Jet rules from our Basic Rotation above!

6. Cast Frostbolt


+ Using Frost Bomb


Finally, let's come to our Frost Bomb. 


1. Cast Frost Bomb ONLY when you meet one of these three criteria:

a. You have 2 Fingers of Frost charges

b. Frozen Orb is coming off cooldown

c. Water Jet is almost off cooldown

2. Cast Frozen Orb on cool down

3. Cast Ice Lance if you have at least 1 x FoF charge, and Frost Bomb is up. If you have just 1 charge and Frost Bomb is NOT up, do not cast Ice Lance. The exception to this rule is if you have 1 FoF charge that’s about to fall off, cast it even if your target doesn’t have a Bomb on it. 

4. Cast Frostfire Bolt via Brain Freeze. Remember, this spell procs Fingers of Frost too, so don’t use it if you have 2 x FoF. 

5. Cast Water Jet. Again, your aim should be to land 2 x Frostbolts on your target during the duration of Water Jet. See the Water Jet section later. 

6. Cast Frostbolt.


That sums up our single target rotation with regards to our Tier 5 talents. Now let's see what happens with our Tier 6 talents added into our rotation. 


+ Using Mirror Image


Nothing special happens here. You will use Mirror Image on a pre-pull and then every time it comes off cooldown. The exception being with Thermal Void as your Tier 7 talent. This will be explained shortly. 


+ Using Rune of Power


Your #1 DPS priority is making sure you cast and stay in your Rune of Power as it increases the spell power of everything in your arsenal.


+ Using Incanter's Flow


Nothing special happens here. Carry on with your rotation as usual and there's no real point or purpose in banking procs to use them on a high Incanter's Flow stack. If you run Ice Nova, try casting it on 5 stacks of Incanter's Flow. 


This sums up our single target rotation with our Tier 6 talents mixed into it as well. Now, let's proceed to our Tier 7 talents.


+ Using Comet Storm


Let's sort the easiest talent out first. Although I would never recommend Comet, if you do opt for it, it will be #2 on your cast priority, right behind your level 90 talent (if the 90 talent is Mirror Image or Rune of Power). Make sure you cast Comet on cooldown because it has no charge system and saving it is pointless. Other than that there's not much to say about this talent. Please note: a highly mobile target can make its way out of your Comet Storm. 


+ Using Prismatic Crystal


This is where the fun and challenging aspect of Frost Mages begins! Prismatic Crystal can provide you amazing burst DPS potential when used properly on single target rotations. But first, let's look at how Prismatic Crystal impacts your rotation. When you pick Prismatic Crystal, the following changes occur:


1. Prismatic Crystal is your #2 priority spell if your tier 6 talent choice is Mirror Image or Rune of Power. If you are rolling with Incanter's Flow, then using Prismatic Crystal is your #1 DPS priority.

2. You no longer cast Frozen Orb on cooldown. Instead, you always line up Frozen Orb with Prismatic Crystal. The only time you would break this rule is if your Frozen Orb is ready and your target will die before Prismatic Crystal will be ready. In such an event, use Frozen Orb without your Prismatic Crystal. In all other cases, line up Frozen Orb with your Prismatic Crystal. 


There are some cardinal rules you must follow whenever you opt for Prismatic Crystal. Let's look at these rules.


++ Prismatic Crystal Rules ++


1. Always glyph Splitting Ice. Because of Prismatic Crystal, even on single target encounters, you will end up with 2 potential targets once you place your Prismatic Crystal. The first is your Crystal. The second, your target. Therefore, your goal should be to cleave as much off the Crystal onto your target, and Splitting Ice can add 50% bonus damage this way. This makes our total Ice Lance damage 160% with Splitting Ice + Crystal (110% from the primary lance, this is inclusive of the 10% bonus the Crystal provides, and 50% cleave damage). 


2. Always place Prismatic Crystal as close to your target as possible. A good rule of thumb is to aim right INSIDE the target's hitbox, and don't risk a few yards. Splitting Ice's range has been slightly gutted since MoP, and therefore to cleave and do maximum damage from Prismatic Crystal, place it as CLOSE as you can, preferably right INSIDE your target. 


3. Always place Prismatic Crystal when you are confident your target wont move. The best way to ensure this is to gain familiarity with the encounter. Keep track of boss spell cooldowns, particularly those spells that cause him to move. Ask your tanks to put a marker on the location they intend to tank the boss. 


4. Place Prismatic Crystal on a time when you are confident you wont move. Your goal should be to turret as hard as you can into your Prismatic Crystal for its duration. To achieve this, try to time your Crystals as such when you know you wont have to move much. 


5. Procs going into Prismatic Crystal are a bonus. This is fairly obvious, because they will deal 10% additional damage going into the crystal. 


6. You can't Water Jet into a Prismatic Crystal. So, if your Water Jet is up before you decide to place Prismatic Crystal, use it. Leaving it ready for 12 additional seconds isn't really a good idea. 


Prismatic Crystal has a different burst set up depending on your Tier 5 talent choice. Let's look at these spell interactions. 


++ Prismatic Crystal and Unstable Magic ++


This is the easiest set up, because Unstable Magic is entirely passive. In this case, the only real requirement is to have Frozen Orb ready.  What you would do is as follows:


1. Have some procs up for your burst. These aren't necessary, but are beneficial. But be careful, do not ever bank max procs for long, as this is usually a DPS loss. Don't think of this step as an absolute necessity. If Water Jet is ready, you might as well use it for FoF procs because your pet will not be able to Water Jet into the Crystal, and this delays your Water Jet use for quite some time, which you want to avoid. 

2. Do you have Icy Veins ready? Use it if you do as this will improve your DPS into the crystal. Also use any on-use trinkets that are off their cooldown.

3. Do you have 2 x FoF on hand? In this case, place your Prismatic Crystal as close to the target as possible (aim right at the hitbox). Exhaust 1 FoF as soon as the Prismatic Crystal appears. If you don't have 2 x FoF, then simply launch Frozen Orb and then immediately place Prismatic Crystal as close to the target as possible (again, aim right for the hitbox).

4. Now, your cast priority is Ice Lance (via FoF) > Brain Freeze (via FFB) > Frostbolt.

5. Proceed with single target rotation when crystal terminates.


Here's a summary of this burst:






++ Prismatic Crystal and Frost Bomb ++


Now, things are getting a little complex, but more rewarding should you pull them off correctly. 


1. Before you cast Prismatic Crystal, try to have some FoF/BF procs in hand. This isn’t mandatory, but helps. 

2. Once you have your proc(s), get ready to burst. Start by casting Frost Bomb on your target. 

3. If you have Icy Veins and it's glyphed, use it after you use Frost Bomb (don’t use it before you cast Frost Bomb, since the bomb itself will not benefit from glyphed Icy Veins, so there’s no point wasting glyphed Icy Veins’ duration on a spell it doesn’t even benefit). 

4. Proceed by launching your Frozen Orb (since Icy Veins does not take a GCD, you can use Icy Veins and Frozen Orb in the same GCD) 

5. Immediately place your Prismatic Crystal as close to your target as possible. Aim for the hitbox! 

6. Start casting Ice Lances as you generate FoF charges. The idea is for your Splitting Ice glyph to cleave off your Prismatic Crystal and onto your target, causing the bomb to explode. The bomb’s explosion will hit your Prismatic Crystal, causing another explosion off the Crystal. The Orb will be hitting both your crystal and your target, so the odds of procing more FoF are increased. 

7. Your spell priority into the Crystal are Ice Lances (via FoF) > FrostFire Bolt (via Brain Freeze) > Frostbolt.

8. Take note that the Bomb will drop off your target before the crystal expires, since the Bomb lasts 12 seconds and so does the Crystal, but you place the bomb on the target first. 

9. At the end of the Crystal, you can re-apply Frost Bomb to your target if you have 2 x FoF on you. If you have just one, carry on with your rotation. If you have none, see if Water Jet is ready. If it is, place a Frost Bomb on your target. Follow through with Water Jet for more FoFs. 


We can summarize the set up for this burst as follows:




Take note that the FoF management from Unstable Magic + Prismatic Crystal kicks in here too. For example, if you have 2 x FoF, then go Crystal > Ice Lance > Orb > Ice Lance > Ice Lance. 


There is a risk with this setup which comes from Frost Bomb. If, for whatever reason, you don't cleave onto your target via Splitting Ice, you will lose a lot of damage. If this risk worries you, you can alter your set up and place your Bomb on your Crystal. But take note that a 1.5s cast into a Crystal that does no damage on its own will yield a smaller DPS gain than the above mentioned method. So the trade off here is giving up potential damage for safer damage.




++  Prismatic Crystal and Ice Nova ++


This is a good alternative to the above combination. The steps are pretty much the same, but the thing you need to make sure of here is trying to get 2 x Ice Nova casts off into your Prismatic Crystal, so they do extra damage. This does not mean you need to have 2 charges of Ice Nova going into your burst. This requires timing and pre-planning. The easiest way to see how this works is by looking at the cooldown of Prismatic Crystal and Ice Nova. You gain a charge of Ice Nova every 25 seconds. Prismatic Crystal has a 90 second cooldown, but it lasts for 12 seconds. Proceed as follows:

1. At the start of the fight, you will have both Ice Novas, so use them early on in your first Prismatic Crystal.

2. Prismatic Crystal’s cooldown is 90 seconds, and this timer begins to tick before your first Ice Nova cast. From there on, it’s a math game. After the first use, Ice Nova will build charges every 25 seconds. Let’s better illustrate it like this: 


First Use > Second Use > 25 > 50 > 75 > 100. Better illustrated as follows




Here… 25, 50, 75, and 100 all are the countdown in seconds at which your charges build up after the First Use. 


Now, a look at Prismatic Cyrstal’s timings




Note the pattern above. Prismatic Crystal will come off cooldown at the 90 second mark. This is important because as you can see, Ice Nova will gain a charge at 75 seconds, but will not cap out till 100 seconds. This means, if you save the charge you gain at 75 seconds and use it into your second Prismatic Crystal, you will be able to cast 2 Ice Novas into the second Prismatic Crystal as well, without ever staying capped at 2 charges. 


In short, the way to use this combo properly is to NOT cast the Nova you would gain at “75” seconds. Save it for your second Prismatic Crystal, because you can get it to hit 10% harder. The entire process can be looked at like a cycle:




So basically if you follow this cycle, you will always cast 2 x Ice Novas in a Prismatic Crystal, and then 2 AFTER IT ENDS but BEFORE the next one. This way, you always have charges of Ice Novas rolling, but still manage to cast 2 into every Prismatic Crystal. 


But what happens if you cast your first Ice Nova late into your Prismatic Crystal? This could throw off the entire cycle, because a few seconds of delay could mean that our “100” Ice Nova is coming up at maybe 103-105, and therefore not being used into the second Prismatic Crystal. The solution to this is easy. All you have to do is adjust the cast time of your second Prismatic Crystal in order to ensure two Ice Novas will fire off into it. How you do is simply look at two conditions before starting your cycle:


1. You have one Ice Nova ready

2. Your second Ice Nova charge will be ready in less than 12 seconds.


If you meet the above criteria, you can always proceed with the cycle. 




++ Prismatic Crystal and Tier 6 talents ++


There isn't much interaction going on here. Your Mirror Images will never target your own Crystal and with Incanter's Flow, there's really nothing special to do. With Rune of Power, remember to always stand in it while you set up your burst. Make sure it will last the duration of your burst. 


+ Thermal Void


Thermal Void is an entirely passive Tier 7 talent. Anytime you cast Ice Lance while your Icy Veins is running, Thermal Void will extend its duration by 2 seconds. Sounds simple enough? Perhaps. But again, there are some rules regarding this talent which you must observe. 


++ Thermal Void Rules ++


1. Never extend your Icy Veins duration with non-FoF Ice Lances. This isn't a DPS gain. 

2. "Infinite Icy Veins" is also not a DPS gain.




++ Thermal Void's interactions with other talents ++  


There isn't much going on with the Tier 5 talents and Thermal Void in terms of an interaction. Of the tier 6 talents, Thermal Void only has an interaction with Mirror Image. However, this is a tricky one to pull off and will be explained shortly in the Optional Read section. 




++ Properly Utilizing Thermal Void ++


Our goal with Thermal Void is to always try to extend our Icy Veins as long as possible. Thankfully, a bit of planning allows us to extend Icy Veins by at least 10 seconds (without tier 17 bonus). 


Here is how you will proceed: 


1. Get 2 x FoF 4-6 seconds before going into Icy Veins. The easiest way to do this if you don’t have them is via Water Jet. Water Jet lasts 4 seconds (by default), so be ready to follow up once you have your Fingers of Frost procs.

2. Cast Icy Veins (if Mirror Image is up, this is when you’d cast it as well)

3. Exhaust your 2 x FoF. This has extended your Icy Veins to 24 seconds. 

4. Use Frozen Orb. Because Frozen Orb is on a 1 minute cooldown, it will be up with every use of Icy Veins.

5. Frozen Orb will guarantee you at least 1 FoF. Use this to extend your Icy Veins to 26 seconds. 

6. Because Water Jet was used 4-5 seconds before casting Icy Veins, and it’s cooldown is just 24 seconds, a 26 second Icy Veins will allow you 1 more Water Jet use. Use this once your Frozen Orb has terminated to get 2 more FoF procs. This extends your Icy Veins to a total of 30 seconds. 


To sum it up




In a worst-case scenario, this set up extends your Icy Veins by 10 seconds. With a stroke of RNG, Frozen Orb will generate more than just 1 FoF for you. This will help you extend your Icy Veins even more. With Frost’s Tier 17 4 PC bonus, you will get guaranteed FoF from Frozen Orb while it’s up. This will add more time into your Icy Veins. Assuming a worst case scenario, with the t17 4 PC bonus, you can extend your Icy Veins by 20 seconds (4 x FoF from your Water Jet spell, as explained above. 6 more from your Frozen Orb with the bonus). 


The start of this set up should be slightly changed based on your luck. If lady RNG is smiling upon you and you have 2 x FoF procs, use Icy Veins and just go for it. Water Jet into your Icy Veins after you've exhausted procs, then use those procs and proceed with Frozen Orb. 


If however you plan to kick-start the cycle with Water Jet, do as follows:


1. Begin a Frosbolt cast. Midway through the cast, begin Water Jet.

2. Launch your second Frostbolt with Icy Veins (Icy Veins is off the GCD). 

3. Immediately cast Ice Lance after your Frostbolt cast ends.

4. Proceed as appropriate.



++ Optional Read (Thermal Void and Mirror Images) ++

Thermal Void does have synergy present with Mirror Images. However, properly utilizing this synergy is a decision making task that's almost always a gamble, therefore it isn't recommended unless you absolutely know what you're doing. If you're interested in seeing how these two spells work together, read on. Otherwise, skip this section.


This combo may seem unexpected, but it can prove to be very powerful. First, let’s look at how the two are connected. Mirror Images turret onto your target (which you have highest threat on). Thermal Void is a passive that lets you extend your Icy Veins by 2 seconds every time you cast Ice Lance during the duration of Icy Veins. The trick here is realizing that your Mirror Images can benefit from the Multistrike you gain from Icy Veins (glyphed). Your goal therefore should be to try and extend Icy Veins as long as possible while Images are up. But you should NEVER extend Icy Veins with non-FoF Ice Lances. As explained, this is a DPS loss. 


The way you do this is the same as mentioned above with regards to Thermal Void's use. However, things get complex when you look at the cooldown of MI and Icy Veins. Mirror Image is on 2 min cooldown. Icy Veins is on a 3 minute cooldown. The biggest hurdle you have to get over in order to use this set up properly is decide whether or not you should delay Mirror Image in order to line it up with Icy Veins. The easiest way to do this is by looking at the length of the boss fight. If you can delay a use of Mirror Image without losing a Mirror Image use in the fight, then you should delay it. 


Say a boss fight lasts 4 minutes. You would normally use Mirror Image and Icy Veins on the pull. Mirror Image will come off its cooldown on the 2 minute mark. Icy Veins will come off its cooldown on the 3 minute mark. In such a fight, you can delay your Mirror Image to line it up with your Icy Veins. 


Say the same boss fight lasts 5 minutes. You would normally use Mirror Image and Icy Veins on the pull. Mirror Images will be ready again on the 2 and 4 minute mark. Icy Veins will come off its cooldown on the 3 minute mark. In this case, delaying your Mirror Images is not worth it.


For easy reference, here is a table that summarizes the decision making for you. 




* On 8 minutes, you can delay the first MI use if you want a bigger burst then because then your MI line up is 0 > 3 > 5 > 7. This way you don’t lose an MI use, but you lose the default line up at 6 minutes. 


The above table also reveals an interesting pattern for us. Note the fights that last an even number of minutes all seem to favor delaying Mirror Images. This is a good rule of thumb you can follow. For example, say your fight is going to last 12 minutes. You would MI at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 by default. You would IV at 0, 3, 6, 9. The default set up has one synch of MI and IV, which is at 6 minutes. Now what happens if you delay your first MI use? You get MI at 0, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11. You don’t use a MI use. But IV is now at 0, 3, 6, 9 and lines up with 3 MI uses as opposed to just 2. This makes the delay worth it. 


What you should take into account with this set up is your group’s killing speed and potential. Sometimes you will have to make decisions on the go. For example, if your group seems to be consistently killing a 5 minute boss in 4 minutes, you should delay your second MI use. But if your group is ending a 10 minute fight at 9 minutes, you shouldn’t delay your MI use. Keeping track of logs is a good way to do this. 


If you don’t have logs to go by, use your intuition and see the rate at which the boss is dying, and try to make a call then. Take into account execute mechanics. Certain classes start dealing more damage to bosses once their HP is below a certain threshold (usually 20%).


Take note that such intense pre-planning and proper use can lead to a DPS increase with Mirror Image and Thermal Void. However, should you ever accidentally mis-calculate and then lose a Mirror Image use, your DPS will suffer alot. So what should you do if despite all your research, you're just not sure at all? 


A good rule of thumb is to use the above method if and only if you're absolutely sure the delay will be worth it. If you're unsure about the delay, don't do the delay at all regardless of how long the fight lasts, because if the gamble does not pay off, the penalty is harsh. In short, while the DPS gain is real, so is the penalty.



+ Icy Veins


Is your major DPS cooldown. Therefore, your aim should be to use it as many times as you can in a fight. Glyphing it can be considered mandatory in most cases because in most (if not all) builds, Multistrike > Haste for Frost. Also make sure you have it ready for Time Warp/Heroism as well. In most cases, on the pull you will pre-pot and cast Icy Veins shortly after. Make sure you use an int pot in at least 1 Icy Veins cast during a fight. Extend it by at least 10 seconds using the Thermal Void trick explained earlier (if you opt for Thermal Void). 


+ Opener

Because your talent match up alters your rotation, there isn’t one set opener. However, here are guidelines to ensure your opener is successful.

1. Always pre-pot before a pull. 

2. If Rune of Power is your tier 6 talent, use it before the pull as well. Mirror Images can be cast before a pull as well. 

3. Cast Frostbolt on -2.0/1.5 seconds to pull.

4. Follow through with whatever burst set up best suits your talent choices.


+ Situation Specific Rotation changes


Your single target rotation changes slightly depending on certain situations you're in.


1. Say you're on the move, can't Frostbolt, and have no access to Frozen Orb/Ice Nova and are too far to Cone of Cold. In such a scenario, cast Ice Lance as long as you're moving. The justification for this is that some damage is better than no damage. 


2. Say you're locked out of Frost spells. In this case, your filler will be a hard cast Frostfire Bolt, till your lock terminates. 


+ Two Target Rotation

+ Are your targets spread out? There’s nothing you can do but focus one down (and weep quietly).

+ Are your targets stacked? Carry on your normal rotation, make sure you have Splitting Ice glyphed. If targets can be hit by your pet's Freeze, then Freeze should replace Water Jet in your rotation, because it will allow for some Shatter combinations.


+ Three - Four Target Rotation

+ Are your targets spread out? Focus one down (and weep quietly).

+ Are your targets stacked? Throw in glyphed Cone of Cold into your rotation. Use it on cooldown. If targets can be hit by your pet's Freeze, then Freeze should replace Water Jet in your rotation, because it will allow for some Shatter combinations.


+ Five+ Target Rotation

+ Are your targets spread out? Focus one down. 

+ Are your targets stacked? Replace Frostbolt in your rotation with Blizzard, as this will now become your FoF generator. It also will reduce the remaining cooldown on your Frozen Orb. Adjust your rotation accordingly. Also use glyphed Cone of Cold on cooldown if you can. If targets can be hit by your pet's Freeze, then Freeze should replace Water Jet in your rotation, because it will allow for some Shatter combinations.



V. Stat Priority, Gems, and Enchants


+ Stat Priority

In WoD, our Stat Priority has shifted to Multistrike. The weight of your secondary stats depends entirely on your talent set up and gear. The best way to get your stat weights is to run your toon through Simcraft and getting your weights. This topic right here (http://altered-time.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=749) by Frosted also has a good summary of your stat weights, race, and talent choices for min/maxing. 


+ Gems

If your gear has a socket in it, go for a Multistrike Gem. 


+ Enchants

Your enchants should be Gift of Multistrike on your Necklace, Cloak, and Rings. You should go for Mark of the Frostwolf on your weapon. 


VI. Macros


Here are some macros I find useful

#showtooltip Alter Time
/cast Alter Time
/cast Frostbolt

Will allow you to cast Frostbolt through Alter Time. 


#showtooltip Summon Water Elemental
/cast [nopet] Summon Water Elemental
/click PetActionButton6

Casting this macro once will Summon your Water Elemental, if he's not summoned. Casting it again will cast Water Jet.


#showtooltip Blink
/cast Blink

Allows you to quickly Blink!


#showtooltip Counterspell
/cast [@focus,exists][@target] Counterspell

Will Counterspell your focus, if it exists. Otherwise, will Counterspell your current target. If you have Counterspell glyphed, remove the /stopcasting line


#showtooltip Freeze
/cast Freeze

A simple macro to bring Freeze onto your cast bars (key binding it also works).


#showtooltip Greater Invisibility
/cast Greater Invisibility

Will immediately cast Greater Inivisibility. 


#showtooltip Ice Block
/cancelaura Ice Block
/cast Ice Block

Casts Ice Block on first use. Using it again will terminate Ice Block.


#showtooltip Ice Nova
/cast [harm, nohelp] Ice Nova

Prevents you from accidentally casting Ice Nova on yourself or a friendly target.


#showtooltip Icy Veins
/script UIErrorsFrame:Hide()
/use 13
/use 14
/use [mod:shift] Draenic Intellect Potion
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()
/script UIErrorsFrame:Show()
/cast Icy Veins
/cast Frostbolt

Macro for Icy Veins. Remove /use 13 and /use 14 if you don't have any active trinkets. Using shift with the macro will use a pot with the macro. You can replace Shift with any other mod key you like. You can also replace /cast Frostbolt with any other spell on the GCD you wish to use in conjuction with Icy Veins.


#showtooltip Mage Bomb
/cast [target=mouseover,exists,nohelp] Mage Bomb; Mage Bomb

Will cast Frost Bomb on your mouse over target. Also works for Nether Tempest/Living Bomb should you dual spec.

#showtooltip Remove Curse
/cast [@mouseover,nodead,help][nodead,help][@player] Remove Curse

Will cast Remove Curse on your mouse over target, if they are friendly. If you don't have a mouse over target, will cast Remove Curse on your target, if they are friendly. If you have no target, will cast Remove Curse on yourself.


#showtooltip Slow Fall
/cast [@mouseover,nodead,help][nodead,help][@player] Slow Fall

Works similar to the Remove Curse macro above, but this is for Slow Fall.


#showtooltip Spellsteal
/cast [@focus,exists][@target] Spellsteal

Will Spellsteal from your focus, if it exists. If you have no focus, will spell steal from your current target. 


/cast [talent:1/2] Blazing Speed; [talent:1/3] Ice Floes

This macro is useful if you frequently switch between Ice Floes and Blazing Speed. You won't need to drag the new spell down to your bars.


/cast [talent:6/1] Mirror Image; [talent:6/2] Rune of Power

This macro is useful if you frequently switch between Mirror Image and Rune of Power. You won't need to drag the new spell down to your bars.


#showtooltip Water Jet
/cast Water Jet

A simple macro for bringing Water Jet to your bars. Alternately, you can keybind it.


VII. Other resources

1. An excellent page for Frost mages over here: http://altered-time.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=749

2. A demo of my Weak Auras for 6.0.3 can be found here:


+ General Mage Procs: http://pastebin.com/K9hHY87j

+ Frost Mage Procs: http://pastebin.com/wGYPKd7Y

+ Mage Cooldowns: http://pastebin.com/CddyJ03q

+ Mage Tier 6 Talents: http://pastebin.com/QNLw3vHc

+ Mage Externals: http://pastebin.com/vpteFW03

Combining all the strings will get you a replica of my WA layout. Take note, most of these strings work for all mage specs. The "Frost Mage Procs" is the only one specific to Frost mages. Also take note: many of these strings come with an audio as well that isn't shown in the video.

3. Simcraft - an extremely powerful tool for anyone who plays WoW who wants to get an idea of how their character works with different talent setups, gear, and stat weights. Use it, abuse it, and conquer. 


VIII. Conclusion


I hope you guys enjoyed reading this guide as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please feel free to leave feedback and suggestions. Cheers, and may the Ice Lances be with you!

Edited by Breaktheice
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Tier 3
These spells have little to no impact on your PvE performance and it doesn’t matter what you choose. In some cases, Ring of Frost or Frostjaw can help should you need additional CC/Silence. However such events are rare in PvE. 
Verdict: Whatever you like. 

It's a small niche, but can't you cast Ice Ward on the tank in a dungeon, so all the mobs around him get frozen and you can benefit from the Shatter? 

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It's a small niche, but can't you cast Ice Ward on the tank in a dungeon, so all the mobs around him get frozen and you can benefit from the Shatter? 

Yes, you can! But I wouldn't advise that. Tanks don't like rooted mobs around them when they might want to move around.

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Yes, you can! But I wouldn't advise that. Tanks don't like rooted mobs around them when they might want to move around.

That they don't! :D Every tank hates Frost Mages for that. Awesome guide you have here, by the way. I don't play frost mage, but even then it's an interesting read. 

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It's a small niche, but can't you cast Ice Ward on the tank in a dungeon, so all the mobs around him get frozen and you can benefit from the Shatter? 

You want to avoid this for two reasons:


1. The tank will not be able to gather the mobs. 

2. The mobs might turn around and melee attack any melee DPS around them once they are rooted. 

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