TBC Classic Fire Mage Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Fire Mage in both single-target and multiple-target PvE situations in TBC Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS.
If you are not familiar already with all the Fire Mage spells, take a look at our spells summary page. It is also an interesting read, if you want to refresh your memory. Knowing how all your important spells work helps you understand your class better. This will improve your performance, as you will not have to think about spells any longer, but simply know them and can focus on what happens around you in PvE and PvP situations. Fire Mages come with a very high damage potential in long fights due to the "execute phase" from Molten Fury. Knowing when to use your cooldowns optimally will elevate your damage even more.
This guide assumes you are running one of the Fire Mage PvE builds and that you are playing a Level 70 character.
AoE Damage and Threat
Fire Mages have it a bit harder than Frost and Arcane Mages when it comes to AoE damage, as their threat modifiers are generally worse and the top Fire spec does not have the threat modifier talent to make Arcane Explosion do 40% less threat. Therefore Fire Mages need to be very careful when they AoE to not pull aggro and die from enemies beating you. It is always better to hold back for a few seconds doing nothing, if the alternative is continuing with AoE and dying to threat. Fire AoE spells have a huge burst potential and as for any Mage spec, it is strongly recommended to use a threat meter addon from sites like Curseforge.
If you run the Clearcasting spec, AoE threat is not as big of a deal for you, as you simply spam Arcane Explosion with 40% less threat. It is extremely difficult to pull aggro with that, if you give the Paladin tank a few seconds. This is very safe and does not need much further explanation. If still to learn more about how AoE threat works, we suggest reading Frost's AoE Damage and Threat section.
Icy Veins specced Fire Mages mostly use Flamestrike for AoE damage, if targets are stationary, as it's three seconds cast time allows for more threat generation by the tanks between Flamestrikes and since this spell is a ranged spell, it usually gives you enough leeway to Ice Block or Invisibility while enemies are approaching. If you Flamestrike, alternate between Rank 7 and Rank 6, as the DoTs of different ranks of this spell are independent of each other. The DoT has another benefit. In The Burning Crusade most AoE abilities are capped if too many enemies are affected and will do less damage to each individual enemy, however, the DoT from Flamestrike does to same damage to any amount of mobs and is unaffected by the cap.
The riskier, but of course higher damage approach to AoEing as an Icy Veins Fire Mage is to use a combination of Flamestrikes, Blast Waves, Arcane Explosions and Dragon's Breaths, however this is really only recommended if you can make sure not to pull threat. This method can also be used if you know you will get a Blessing of Protection from a Paladin, which protects you from physical attacks (but not from spells!). As a last resort, Fire Mages can use a combination of Flamestrikes and Blizzards. Blizzard will deal low damage, but will make it much more likely that you stay alive and will slow enemies. Fire Mages should always watch the threat meter closely when AoEing.
Tips and Tricks for Using AoE Spells
All AoE spells can be combined with the Icy Veins talent and other Haste increasing abilities, as Haste increases cast speed, lowers the Global Cooldown for instant cast spells and increases the rate at which Blizzard damage is ticking. If your tank threat allows using Destruction Potions and trinkets, such as Icon of the Silver Crescent, together with AoE spells greatly increases your damage. For that a macro like the following makes you use your Trinket in the upper trinket slot, a Destruction Potion, Flame Cap, Icy Veins and the AoE spell of your choice, in this case Flamestrike:
- /use 13
- /use Flame Cap
- /use Destruction Potion
- /cast Icy Veins
- /cast Flamestrike
The trinket in the upper trinket slot is accessed via /use 13, the trinket in the lower trinket slot via /use 14. You can only use one activation trinket at a time. If you wish to not include the trinket, Icy Veins, or the Destruction Potion in your macro, simply leave these lines out. If you wish to use another spell, such as Blast Wave, simply write Blast Wave instead of Arcane Explosion in the macro. You can change spell ranks in macros by adding the rank behind a spell name, without a space between the spell and the rank. For example Flamestrike Rank 6 would be /cast Flamestrike(Rank 6) in a macro. Macros use the highest rank of a spell by default, if no rank is specified.
Another trick for AoE damage is to save Combustion, Blast Wave and Dragon's Breath for lower Health enemies to benefit from Molten Fury with your strongest spells.
Single Target Damage
Fire Mages are capable of doing huge amounts of single target damage, especially in long fights, due to the double use of Icy Veins with Cold Snap during Molten Fury. Your main rotation will be to Fireball. If a target stays alive for around 4 Fireballs or more after applying 5 stacks of the Improved Scorch debuff, it is worth using Scorch, otherwise simply cast Fireball. With more players in your raid doing Fire damage to enemies, it is feasible to apply the Scorch debuff even on enemies who are living shorter.
Basically you want to plan your cooldowns, such as trinkets, Destruction Potion, Flame Cap, Icy Veins and Cold Snap ahead, so they are available during the 20% Molten Fury phase of bosses. Trash mobs will often not live long enough to make efficient use of cooldowns and Molten Fury. On bosses, a macro for the execute phase will greatly help you get the maximum damage out of Molten Fury. The macro can be found below:
Detailed Information About Fire Main DPS Spells
Fireball is your main source of single target damage. Minimize the time spent moving and maximize the time casting, to effectively increase your DPS. If you need to change positions, try to Blink instead of walking, as this will almost always be faster than moving. Plan your cooldowns around the execute phase when Molten Fury kicks in. Using a macro such as:
- /use 13
- /use Flame Cap
- /use Destruction Potion
- /cast Icy Veins
- /cast Fireball
Scorch places the Improved Scorch debuff on your target. When the debuff is stacked 5 times, it should only be used after 8 or 9 Fireballs. 8 Fireballs take 24 seconds to cast and Scorch takes 1.5 seconds, so you are at 25.5 seconds, start your next 8 Fireball rotation, unless your Scorch debuff on the target got resisted and did not reset to 30 seconds, then you can do one more Scorch to refresh the debuff. An alternative to this rotation is casting 9 Fireballs, which takes 27 seconds, and then simply Scorching twice to make sure the debuff gets refreshed to 30 seconds duration, before continuing with your Fireball rotation.
Combustion is a DPS cooldown, which is preferably used during the execute phase. If a fight is long enough to use Combustion twice, harness it.
Icy Veins (also called IV) is a big DPS cooldown only the Fire IV spec offers. Try to have it ready for the execute phase and the macro in the Fireball section. It can also be used for AoE damage. Icy Veins gives you immunity to spell pushback and allows your to cast 20% faster for 20 seconds on a 3-minute cooldown.
Cold Snap is used to reset the cooldowns of all your Frost abilities, making you able to use Icy Veins twice in a row. If you know a boss fight will be around 5 minutes in length, you can use your cooldowns once in the start, once more after 3 minutes and a third time with Cold Snap in the end. Get a feeling for your guild's boss kill times and take advantage of your knowledge.
Fire Blast will be cast while moving to maximize your damage while you cannot cast Fireball. It can also be used to get in one last hit on a boss before it dies.
Remove Lesser Curse While this is no damage spell, it is of high importance to decurse on some fights and doing so is part of being a good Mage.
Molten Armor — It is important to keep this buff up on you, as it gives you a higher Critical Strike chance with spells. Therefore it is part of your rotation.
Arcane Intellect/Arcane Brilliance — It is important to keep this buff up on you and your group for a higher Critical Strike chance with spells and more Mana. Therefore it is part of your rotation.
Offensive Potion/Gem is not an ability per se, but the act of making a macro for your Potion and Mana Gem uses. For instance when using a Mana Potion, there is always a little offset between using the potion and casting your next damage spell, just from human reaction time. You can eliminate this offset and make a macro for Mana Gems and Mana Potions like this:
- /use Super Mana Potion
- /cast Fireball
- /use Mana Emerald
- /cast Fireball
These macros will not only use your Mana restoring cooldowns, but also make you instantly cast a Fireball afterwards.
Other Useful Combat Abilities
Playing a Mage does not only mean to press the Fireball button, but also managing your Mana, using crowd control spells and making sure you survive.
Please consider taking a look at the Fire Mage spells if you want to refresh your memory.
- 30 May 2021: Guide added.
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