Frost Mage Pre-Patch Guide for WotLK Classic
The Pre-Patch period of Wrath of the Lich King Classic is a time to allow players to level or gear up characters while experiencing some of the class changes of the coming expansion before its official launch. Here you will find recommended talents, gear, and some rotation tips for a Frost Mage when you can only reach a maximum level of 70.
Frost Mage in Wrath of the Lich King Pre Patch
During the Wrath of the Lich King pre-patch, there are not many changes to Frost Mage gameplay, because the important talent points needed to make Frost more engaging and achieve its highest possible damage are only available at level 80. As a result, just as with Fire Mage, Frost is considered to do less damage in pre-patch than Arcane Mage. With that in mind, this guide is still based on Osthyvel's Level 80 Mage Simulation because there is simply no Level 70 simulation for the pre-patch.
Stats, Gear, Glyphs and Enchants
As written above, this guide is based on Level 80 simulations. The stat values for Frost Mages do not change a lot compared to TBC.
Suggested stat prio: Hit (until cap) > Haste >= Spell Damage > Critical Strike Rating > Intellect > Spirit.
- Critical Strike Rating — Not a stat you should chase, but also not a stat that should be ignored.
- Haste Rating — Together with Spell Power, this is probably your most powerful stat after Hit Rating until cap. However, Haste loses a lot of its value when you go below the global cooldown.
- Hit Rating — Effectively, your Hit cap increased from 16% Hit in TBC to 17% in WotLK. The talent Precision still gives 3% Hit. However, a Druid's Improved Faerie Fire and a Priest's Misery give another total of 3% Hit (you only need one of these debuffs on your target) and Alliance players gain another 1% hit from Heroic Presence if a Draenei is in their group. That means without Draenei, Faerie Fire, or Misery, you need 14% Hit (177 rating), or 11% hit (139 rating) with one of these debuffs present. Note that all Hit rating values mentioned here are for Level 70, but Spicy Hot Talbuk offers you another 20 Hit Rating, allowing Fire Mages to go even lower with Hit rating.
- Intellect — Provides more maximum Mana and a very slightly increased Critical Strike chance.
- Spell Power — Together with Critical Strike and Haste Rating, this is likely your strongest stat. In WotLK, Spell Damage and Healing have been changed into the stat Spell Power.
- Spirit — With Molten Armor, 35% (or 55% with the Glyph of Molten Armor) of your Spirit will be converted into Critical Strike Rating. Further, Spirit still increases your Mana regeneration, but it is not the greatest of all stats.
- Stamina — While not adding DPS, Stamina provides health and you can only DPS if you are alive.
Basically, most of the TBC Phase 5 BiS below is still valid, but with the above changes to Hit Rating and the buff food mentioned above, it is possible to wield less pieces with Hit Rating. Further, some healing items get more value:
- Brooch of Nature's Mercy (TBC version) changes into Brooch of Nature's Mercy (WotLK version) and gains more value.
- Golden Staff of the Sin'dorei (TBC version) changes into Golden Staff of the Sin'dorei (WotLK version) and is usable by us, but is slightly worse than Sunflare + Heart of the Pit.
- Purified Shadowsong Amethyst is your new best blue gem.
Wrath of the Lich King introduces the new profession Inscription, adding glyphs for each class. Glyphs enhance or change class-specific abilities and can be very powerful. Each class can use each 3 major and minor glyphs. A big chunk of glyphs will only be available with WotLK's full launch, which sadly includes all of your good Frost Mage glyphs, namely Glyph of Frostbolt and Glyph of Molten Armor only become available in Northrend. However, there is still one good major glyph already available at Level 70: Glyph of Eternal Water, which removes your Summon Water Elemental's Freeze ability, but makes the Water elemental last forever or until it dies. As your secondary glyph, we recommend Glyph of Mana Gem. The minor glyphs available during pre-patch, meanwhile, are mostly underwhelming, but Glyph of Arcane Intellect and Glyph of Slow Fall are decent quality of life glyphs.
The enchants list of TBC stays valid, except for the Gem change above.
Talents and Rotation
Due to missing talent points from not being Level 80, the talent build below is considered to be the best for Frost Mages. Note that it mostly ignores the last three tiers of the Frost talent tree. However, as a compensation it uses the very strong Torment the Weak and Focus Magic talents from the Arcane talent tree. As a special treat, Arcane Concentration reduces the average Mana cost of your spells by offering the Clearcasting buff.
Make sure to keep up Molten Armor. It is the armor you want to use, as it turns 35% of your Spirit into Critical Strike rating. Make sure to keep up Focus Magic on another caster. When the other caster scores a critical strike, you also gain 3% increased crit chance for 10 seconds. The most efficient class to give this buff to is a Fire Mage, but this can for example also be traded for a Balance Druid's Innervate.
The first part of the single-target rotation will be to apply the Winter's Chill debuff and keep it on your target. However, that requires no special attention as your Frostbolts naturally keep the debuff up. All you do is cast Frostbolt and make your Water Elemental attack the target. When you get a Fingers of Frost proc, cast Frostbolt, Frostbolt, Ice Lance. This way all three spells will benefit from Fingers of Frost and have a 50% increased Critical Strike chance.
The AoE rotation for Frost Mage is very easy: Simply spam Blizzard. With one point in Improved Blizzard, Blizzard can trigger Fingers of Frost and benefit from the Shatter talent, effectively increasing Blizzard's Critical Strike chance by 50%. Further, Winter's Chill will be applied to the targets and increase your friendly player spell Critical Strike chance against your targets by 5%. If your AoE targets are constantly moving, cast Arcane Explosion.
Whenever you are going OOM (out of Mana), use Evocation. Innervate is not based on your Spirit and Intellect anymore in WotLK, but based on the Druid's base Mana. Therefore it will restore a small and fixed amount of Mana. Another small tip is that the Tier 3 2-set bonus (Frostfire Regalia) reduces the cooldown of Evocation by a minute. With this in mind, you can swap to the 2 pieces, wait for a second (the bonus needs a bit to activate), Evocate, and swap back to your normal gear. Be sure to only use this strategy out of combat, as you can only switch back to your normal gear out of combat and Tier 3 is terrible to wear during an encounter.
Stack your cooldown Icy Veins with your trinkets and buffs like Bloodlust/Heroism to get more casts off during your trinket uptime. Also use your potion (see below) together with Icy Veins and other cooldowns/trinkets. To learn how to build the correct macros for cooldown stacking, check out the link below.
There is good news: In WotLK Weapon Oils get removed and food and drinks are in one category. In practice that means that you do not need Brilliant Wizard Oil and Kreeg's Stout Beatdown any more. Further, only one potion can be used in fight, which is good for your wallet. Typically you "pre pot", which means you use a potion right before the pull and then are able to use another potion in fight. Between trash pulls, you can still chug Mana Potions, as their cooldown is only one minute in WotLK.
The consumables we will be using are:
- Flask — Flask of Pure Death
- Food — Spicy Hot Talbuk (if not Hit-capped) > Blackened Basilisk, Poached Bluefish, or Crunchy Serpent
- Potion — Haste Potion (when not Haste-capped) > Destruction Potion (when Haste-capped) > Mana Potion Injector (more Mana if Engineer) > Super Mana Potion
- Mana Gems — Mana Emerald
- Scrolls — Scroll of Spirit V if no Priest with Divine Spirit is around.
- Bandages — Heavy Netherweave Bandage as a self-healing tool.
Another niche and rather expensive consumable is Greater Rune of Warding. If you have the gold for it, using it will not hurt you and can potentially be a life-saver.
Of course, boosted characters also want to be geared. Since the time period until the actual Wrath of the Lich King launch is so short and since many item options outside of Sunwell Plateau BiS gear can be replaced rather quickly by WotLK quest rewards, it is not recommended to invest hefty amounts of gold and time into gearing. If you want to gear up regardless, feel free to visit the TBC gear pages below:
- 23 Aug. 2022: Page added.
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