WotLK Classic Frost Mage Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities

Last updated on Sep 24, 2023 at 02:27 by Wrdlbrmpft 1 comment

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Frost Mage in both single-target and multiple-target PvE situations in WotLK Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS.


General Knowledge

If you are not familiar already with all the Frost Mage spells, or simply want to refresh your memory, you may find interest in the Spell Summary page. 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 these spells any longer, but simply know them and can focus on what happens around you in PvE and PvP situations. Frost Mages come with very high burst damage potential in short fights, which always bears the risk of pulling aggro. Knowing when to press which defensive button can help your and your raid's survival. In PvP situations, you always have to be ready to notice what your enemy is doing, and you become better at that if you know all your abilities by heart.

This guide assumes you are running one of the Frost Mage PvE builds and that you are playing a Level 80 character.




Important DPS-Enhancing Spells

There are a few spells you always need to have active if you want to maximize your performance:

  • Arcane Intellect IconArcane Intellect/Arcane Brilliance IconArcane Brilliance — This boosts your Intellect stat and therefore your Mana pool and Critical Strike chance.
  • Molten Armor IconMolten Armor — Boosts your Critical Strike chance by 35% of your total Spirit (55% with Glyph of Molten Armor Icon Glyph of Molten Armor) and deals damage to enemies that hit you. This is the better choice, unless you face extreme Mana problems all the time.
  • Mage Armor IconMage Armor — Boosts your Magic resistance by 40 and allows 50% of your Mana regeneration (70% with Glyph of Mage Armor Icon Glyph of Mage Armor) to continue while casting. Only use this armor if you really need the Magic resistance or Mana regeneration.
  • Focus Magic IconFocus Magic — Cast on another caster who does a lot of crits to boost theirs and your Critical Strike chance by 3%.

AoE Damage and Threat

When the fight is stationary, which means your targets do not move, Frost Mages use Blizzard IconBlizzard as their main AoE spell. Weaving in Flamestrike IconFlamestrike and Flamestrike IconFlamestrike drastically increases DPS, but also requires mobs to stand in the ground effect of Flamestrike. Nevertheless, unless mobs are moving all the time, it is recommended to mainly cast Blizzard IconBlizzard as your primary AoE spell. This is because the Winter's Chill IconWinter's Chill talent also increases your friendly casters' Critical Strike chance against all targets affected by Blizzard by 5% if you take one point in Improved Blizzard IconImproved Blizzard; Fingers of Frost IconFingers of Frost can proc off Blizzard ticks, giving your Blizzard basically permanent 50% crit from the Shatter IconShatter talent, if there are enough mobs. Brain Freeze IconBrain Freeze can also proc from the chill effect, giving you an instant Frostfire Bolt IconFrostfire Bolt in case a higher health single-target mob is also around and needs to be finished. The slow effect of Improved Blizzard IconImproved Blizzard can also help tanks a little bit to bind stragglers on them.

In non-stationary AoE situations, such as when you and the mobs move, cast Arcane Explosion IconArcane Explosion. If you cast it while jumping or moving, the range will be higher (through a mechanic called leeway) and the chances you hit more mobs in chaotic pulls will be higher. In rare situations where tanks cannot generate a lot of AoE threat, Arcane Subtlety IconArcane Subtlety gives your Arcane Explosion 40% less threat, making this spell safer to use than Blizzard IconBlizzard.

Mirror Image IconMirror Image can be used on AoE to disappear from the threat list while doing heavy burst AoE damage. Simply use them while engaging the next pack of mobs and enjoy doing no threat until the Mirror Images disappear.

It is noteworthy that in WotLK the AoE cap is defined by 10 mobs. This means if you would attempt to AoE more than 10 enemies, you will always deal as much damage as you would deal to 10 mobs. Below 10 mobs, your AoE damage is not capped.

This WeakAura by Hildigunnur shows you a list of targets you have threat on and displays your threat relative to your tank. There are several such modifications on wago.io; just search there for 'aoe threat'. Frost spells only have a 10% threat reduction from Frost Channeling IconFrost Channeling, so if your tank does not do high AoE threat, you might be better off using Arcane Explosion IconArcane Explosion instead of Blizzard IconBlizzard.


Tips and Tricks for Using AoE Spells

All AoE spells can be combined with the Icy Veins IconIcy Veins talent and other Haste-increasing abilities, as Haste increases casting speed, lowers the Global Cooldown for instant-cast spells (to a minimum of 1s), and increases the rate at which Blizzard IconBlizzard damage is ticking. If your tank threat allows, stacking as many damage- and Haste-increasing effects, such as Icy Veins IconIcy Veins, Bloodlust IconBloodlust/Heroism IconHeroism, Potion of Speed Icon Potion of Speed (if not Haste capped, else Potion of Wild Magic Icon Potion of Wild Magic), Arcane Power IconArcane Power, Tricks of the Trade IconTricks of the Trade, from Rogues, and trinkets together with AoE spells greatly increases your damage. Further, the macro below allows you to macro Saronite Bomb Icon Saronite Bombs into your Blizzard's and Flamestrike IconFlamestrike's cursor position, and Global Thermal Sapper Charge Icon Global Thermal Sapper Charge and Saronite Bomb Icon Saronite Bomb at your player position when casting Arcane Explosion IconArcane Explosion:

Blizzard IconBlizzard Macro:

  • /use 13
  • /use Potion of Speed
  • /cast Icy Veins
  • /cast Berserking
  • /use [@cursor] Saronite Bomb
  • /cast [@cursor] Blizzard
  • /cqs

Arcane Explosion IconArcane Explosion Macro:

  • /use 13
  • /use Potion of Speed
  • /cast Icy Veins
  • /cast Berserking
  • /use Global Thermal Sapper Charge
  • /use [@player] Saronite Bomb
  • /cast Arcane Explosion
  • /cqs

The trinket in the upper trinket slot is accessed via /use 13, while 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 any trinket, potion, buff or bomb in your macro, simply leave these lines out. The tag [@cursor] casts the Saronite Bomb Icon Saronite Bomb and Blizzard IconBlizzard at your cursor position, [@player] casts the Saronite Bomb Icon Saronite Bomb at your player position. If you wish to use another spell, such as Cone of Cold IconCone of Cold, simply write Cone of Cold instead of Arcane Explosion IconArcane Explosion in the macro.

Be careful when using Frost Nova IconFrost Nova, you might kill your friends (or yourself). Frozen enemies that cannot reach their highest threat target, which is usually the tank, will attack the closest target. This also counts for your pet's Freeze IconFreeze ability.


Single-Target Damage

Frost Mages are capable of doing huge amounts of single-target burst damage, especially in short fights, due to the double use of Icy Veins IconIcy Veins and with Cold Snap IconCold Snap. Your main rotation will be to Frostbolt IconFrostbolt while having your Water Elemental (Summon Water Elemental IconSummon Water Elemental) up. With the Enduring Winter IconEnduring Winter talent, Frostbolt IconFrostbolt a 100% chance to trigger the Replenishment IconReplenishment buff on the lowest Mana raid members. If you get a Fingers of Frost IconFingers of Frost proc, you want to cast 2x Frostbolt IconFrostbolt and after the 2nd Frostbolt spam press your Deep Freeze IconDeep Freeze button. The spam-pressing of Deep Freeze is important, because then Fingers of Frost IconFingers of Frost will benefit both the 2nd Frostbolt and Deep Freeze through the Shatter IconShatter talent. When Brain Freeze IconBrain Freeze procs, you cast an instant Frostfire Bolt IconFrostfire Bolt, as Frostfire bolt scales with all Frost talents, while Fireball IconFireball does not. If you ever need to move, cast Fire Blast IconFire Blast. If you have Fingers of Frost IconFingers of Frost up while you need to move, Deep Freeze IconDeep Freeze > Ice Lance IconIce Lance are your top spells of choice. While your Water Elemental is active, you can make it fire Waterbolt IconWaterbolts automatically, using the following macro:

  • /petattack
  • /cast Frostbolt
  • /cqs

If you wish you can also add a line with /use [@cursor] Saronite Bomb to throw a Saronite Bomb Icon Saronite Bomb at your cursor position whenever it is off cooldown. Summon Water Elemental IconSummon Water Elemental changes from a DPS cooldown into a permanent pet, as Glyph of Eternal Water Icon Glyph of Eternal Water makes your pet not disappear, but lose its Freeze IconFreeze ability, which is unimportant for raiding anyways. The Water Elemental attacks enemies with Waterbolt IconWaterbolt. If needed, use Ice Lance IconIce Lance to prevent Winter's Chill IconWinter's Chill from dropping from your target.

Icy Veins IconIcy Veins is your big DPS cooldown. Use it as often as possible and try to use it in a phase of a boss fight that does not interrupt your casting with movement or anti-casting mechanics. For example, using it right before a 10-second stun mechanic on a boss makes this cooldown 50% worse. A good macro to use Icy Veins with is:

  • /use 13
  • /use Potion of Speed
  • /cast Icy Veins
  • /petattack
  • /cast Frostbolt
  • /cqs

It will use your trinket in the upper trinket slot (13, the lower trinket slot is 14), use a Potion of Speed Icon Potion of Speed, Cast Icy Veins IconIcy Veins, will make your Water Elemental attack (if summoned), and cast Frostbolt IconFrostbolt. If you are Haste-capped, which means your casts are below 1 second, use Potion of Wild Magic Icon Potion of Wild Magic in that macro instead of Potion of Speed. If you wish you can also add a line with /use [@cursor] Saronite Bomb to throw a Saronite Bomb Icon Saronite Bomb at your cursor position whenever it is off cooldown.


Other Important Frost Mage Spells to Have Keybound

Mirror Image IconMirror Image — Should be used for additional damage, as the Mirror Images attack your enemy and do additional damage, or to disappear from the threat list while doing heavy burst (AoE) damage. Mirror Images benefit from Bloodlust IconBloodlust/Heroism IconHeroism if cast beforehand and only attack if an enemy is nearby and you are already in combat with them.

Fire Blast IconFire Blast — Will be cast while moving or to finish off an enemy with a last cast. Fire Blast has no travel time.

Ice Lance IconIce Lance is a low damage spell against targets that are not frozen. However, it does three times' normal damage against frozen targets, making this an incredibly powerful ability on frozen targets, when you use Frost Nova IconFrost Nova, Freeze IconFreeze, or when you have a Fingers of Frost IconFingers of Frost proc, while moving. This spell can also be cast while moving to prevent Winter's Chill IconWinter's Chill from dropping from an enemy target or to stack this debuff.

Remove Curse IconRemove 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.

Spellsteal IconSpellsteal — In some fights you either help your team to survive or you gain a massive buff when spell stealing from enemies.

Polymorph IconPolymorph — Turning your enemies into a sheep for 50 seconds is sometimes required in PvE encounters and you should always be ready to use this spell.

Blink IconBlink — This can either be used to travel a large distance within one GCD and continue casting or to move out of dangerous boss mechanics. Blink can be seen as a passive DPS increase, as you travel forward 20 yards and then have 1.5s global cooldown to position before you can cast again. Moving the same distance would take significantly longer and would reduce your overall casting time. If you are a good Mage, using this spell to avoid movement is a sign of quality.

Ice Block IconIce Block — Makes you immune to most kinds of damage. If you pulled aggro from a mob, they return to the 2nd-highest threat target (which usually is the tank). Can also be used to remove deadly debuffs from you.

Cold Snap IconCold Snap is used to reset the cooldowns of all your Frost abilities, making you able to use Icy Veins IconIcy 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.

Mana Shield IconMana Shield, Frost Ward IconFrost Ward, Ice Barrier IconIce Barrier, and Fire Ward IconFire Ward — absorb damage and can be useful in some PvE situations.


Other Useful Combat Abilities

Playing a Mage does not only mean to press the Frostbolt IconFrostbolt and Deep Freeze IconDeep Freeze buttons, but also managing your Mana, using crowd control spells, and making sure you survive.

Please consider taking a look at the Frost Mage spells if you want to refresh your memory.



  • 06 Jan. 2023: Added more detailed info about Mirror Images.
  • 03 Oct. 2022: Fixed some macro errors.
  • 14 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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