Frost Single-Target Mage Leveling Guide From 1 to 80 for WotLK Classic
This guide will introduce you to the arts of Single-Target Frost Mage leveling in Wrath of the Lich King. Frost Single-Target, often also called Frost ST, offers the best combination of burst damage, survivability, Mana efficiency, and control the Mage class has to offer and therefore is considered the fastest and safest and the meta single-target leveling spec. If you want to try something else than the meta or simply explore the Mage class further, you may try out our Arcane Mage Leveling Guide, the Frost Mage AoE Leveling Guide, or the Fire Mage Leveling Guide instead.
Single-Target Frost Mage Level-by-Level Rotation, Talents and Trainer Skills
Move the slider below to make the guide update to your level!
Talent Tree for Leveling as Single-Target Frost Mage
From level 10 on you get one talent point per level, which you can use to build your talent tree. The talent menu can be accessed via the keybind 'N' in game.
Your talents should look like the trees below. However, for the Frost tree you can swap some points around based on personal preference. The suggested order is optimized for Mana efficiency and damage.
- Levels 10 to 14 — 5 points in Improved Frostbolt
- Levels 15 to 17 — 3 points in Precision
- Levels 18 & 19 — 2 points in Frostbite
Precision is important to hit enemies that are on the same level as you or higher. Sometimes Frostbite will freeze enemies in place for 5 seconds, allowing you to cast more Frostbolts on them before they reach you. As a result of all three talents you will get hit less frequently, reduce the chance of you dying, and your downtime from eating. The freezing effect of Frostbite will also work greatly together with Shatter later on.
- Level 20 — 1 point in Icy Veins
- Level 21 — 1 point in Frostbite
- Levels 22 to 24 — 3 points in Ice Shards
- Levels 25 to 27 — 3 points in Shatter
- Levels 28 & 29 — 2 points in Ice Shards
At Level 20, you will learn your first cooldown ability: Icy Veins. It allows you to cast 20% faster for 20 seconds and has a 2-minute cooldown. The best part of Icy Veins (IV) is that you have no spell pushback during these 20 seconds.
The last talent point in Frostbite gives you an extra layer of security, as mobs will freeze slightly more often. It will also be used as a passive offensive ability later on together with Shatter, which will increase your chance to critically hit with Frost spells against frozen targets by 50%! Piercing Ice gives you a raw damage increase for your Frost spells, which is always good.
- Level 30 — 1 point in Cold Snap
- Level 31 — 1 point in Ice Shards
- Levels 32 to 34 — 3 points in Ice Floes
- Levels 35 to 37 — 3 points in Winter's Chill
- Levels 38 & 39 — 2 points in Arctic Reach
Cold Snap is one of your emergency buttons. It resets the cooldown of all Frost abilities. It can be used offensively to obtain a second Icy Veins or defensively to restore your Ice Barrier and Frost Nova cooldowns. The last point in Ice Shards gives a 2% damage increase, while Ice Floes reduces the cooldown of several important abilities, such as Icy Veins, Frost Nova, Cone of Cold, and Ice Block by 20%. Winter's Chill adds 3% more Critical Strike chance to Frostbolt and 1% increased spell critical strike chance per Frost attack that you do on the same target, up to a maximum of 5% for 15 seconds. The Arctic Reach talent increases your Frost spell's range by 20%, so you can attack from further away and deal more damage before an enemie reaches you.
- Level 40 — 1 point in Ice Barrier
- Levels 41 to 44 — 4 points in Arctic Winds
- Levels 45 & 46 — 2 points in Fingers of Frost
- Levels 47 & 48 — 2 points in Empowered Frostbolt
- Level 49 — 1 point in Arctic Winds
Ice Barrier is your second shield spell. If you have shields up while getting hit by an enemy, you will not get dazed and you will not suffer from spell pushback. In any dangerous situation, this very useful spell can save your life! The five points in Arctic Winds will increase your damage and reduce the chance you get hit by Physical attacks, which are both very good effects. The elephant in the room is Fingers of Frost, as this will give you the Shatter bonus to your next two Frost attacks, but on top of that, it will also "batch" with a 3rd Frost spell, if you cast it right after the 2nd Frostbolt. The trick here is to cast 2x Frostbolt and spam the Ice Lance button (once you have Ice Lance). Empowered Frostbolt not only makes your Frostbolts get 10% more damage from Spell power, but will also decrease it's cast time by 0.2 seconds, down to 2.3 seconds.
- Level 50 — 1 point in Summon Water Elemental
- Levels 51 to 53 — 3 points in Enduring Winter
- Levels 54 to 56 — 3 points in Brain Freeze
- Levels 57 to 59 — 3 points in Chilled to the Bone
The Summon Water Elemental ability will summon a Water Elemental that fights for you for 45 seconds and has an immensely-useful ability called Freeze, which is basically a ranged Frost Nova that you can place anywhere around you. On top of that, this pet also deals decent damage and can be used twice in a row with Cold Snap. From now on, you will be killing enemies so fast that your biggest problem will be restoring enough Mana. You can more-easily control your water Elemental with the following macro:
- /cast Frostbolt
The Enduring Winter talent makes your Water Elemental stay alive for 15 seconds longer, but the most important part of it is that it will give your Frostbolts a 100% chance to proc Replenishment to you and your group, which means you regenerate mana from your Frostbolts. With Brain Freeze, you may shoot an instant cast Fireball or Frostfire Bolt (later on, preferred ability) if the 15% proc occurs. The talent Chilled to the Bone gives Frostbolt, Frostfire Bolt and Ice Lance a 1% damage bonus and your slowing effects a 2% slow bonus per talent point.
- Levels 60 & 61 — 2 points in Chilled to the Bone
- Level 62 — 1 point in Deep Freeze
- Levels 63 & 64 — 2 points in Arcane Subtlety
- Levels 64 to 67 — 3 points in Arcane Focus
- Levels 68 & 69 — 2 points in Arcane Concentration
We finish the Chilled to the Bone talent and gain access to Deep Freeze. Deep Freeze freezes (stuns) your enemy for 5 seconds, unless your enemy is stun immune (Bosses) in which case it will deal a massive amount of damage. This is a very useful spell, as some mobs during questing are immune to stuns. The Arcane Subtlety and Arcane Focus talents are mainly fillers points, as you will rarely cast Arcane spells outside of group content. With these 5 points, you gain access to Arcane Concentration, which gives you the chance to proc the clearcasting effect if a damage spell hit the target. Clearcasting reduces the Mana cost of your next damage spell by 100%. 2% increased chance per talent point.
- Levels 70 to 72 — 3 points in Arcane Concentration
- Levels 73 to 75 — 3 points in Spell Impact
- Levels 76 & 77 — 2 points in Student of the Mind
- Levels 78 to 80 — 3 points in Torment the Weak
We finish the Arcane Concentration talent and gain access to Spell Impact, which increases the damage of Ice Lance and Cone of Cold by 6%. From Student of the Mind we gain 7% more Spirit, which helps us with Molten Armor, which converts Spirit into Critical Strike rating. The main talent why you go into the Arcane tree is Torment the Weak, which increases the damage of Frostbolt and Frostfire Bolt by 12%, if the target is slowed (which the target is by those spells).
In Wrath you will be able to unlock Glyphs that improve your abilities at the following levels:
- Level 15 unlocks your first Major and Minor Glyphs;
- Level 30 unlocks your second Major Glyph;
- Level 50 unlocks your second Minor Glyph;
- Level 70 unlocks your third Minor Glyph;
- Level 80 unlocks your third Major Glyph.
Rotation for leveling up as a Single-Target Frost Mage
- Cast Arcane Intellect and Frost Armor if you are missing their buffs.
- Cast Arcane Intellect and Frost Armor if you are missing their buffs. Use Mana Shield in any situation where you could die.
- Cast Arcane Intellect and Ice Armor if you are missing their buffs. Use Mana Shield in any situation where you could die.
- Cast Arcane Intellect and Mage Armor if you are missing their buffs. Use Mana Shield in any situation where you could die.
- Cast Arcane Intellect and Mage Armor if you are missing their buffs. Use Ice Barrier and Mana Shield in any situation where you could die.
- Cast Arcane Intellect and Molten Armor if you are missing their buffs. Use Ice Barrier and Mana Shield in any situation where you could die.
- Cast Fireball as your main attack.
- Cast Frostbolt as your main attack.
- Cast Fireball as your main attack.
- Cast Frostbolt as your main attack.
- Use Icy Veins when it is available.
- Make use of Cold Snap in order to reset the cooldown of Icy Veins, Frost Nova or Ice Barrier when needed.
- Summon Water Elemental as often as possible and use it's Freeze ability to freeze mobs.
- When Brain Freeze procs, cast an instant Fireball.
- When Brain Freeze procs, cast an instant Frostfire Bolt.
- Freeze mobs with Deep Freeze, if needed.
- If Fingers of Frost procs, cast 2x Frostbolt and spam press the Ice Lance button, so Ice Lance also benefits from Fingers of Frost.
Shield skills, such as Mana Shield, can be kept up during battle in order to minimize the cast time lost to enemy attacks, thus allowing you to finish them faster. However, Mana Shield also takes Mana from you so you might have to spend more time drinking after using it. Generally it is recommended to use them only as an emergency tool for survival or if you notice that you spend more time regenerating health than regenerating Mana. Use Evocation whenever possible in order to restore mana (and health with Glyph of Evocation).
Utility skills, such as Frost Nova, should be used to keep enemies away from you or to freeze and finish them off.
You can make your own food and water with Conjure Food and Conjure Water. These spells should definitely be learned, as water and food from vendors will cost you far more gold than these spells do. Sometimes other players even want to buy conjured water and you can gain a little extra gold. Conjured items disappear after 15 minutes of being logged out.
You can make your own food and water with Conjure Refreshment. This spell should definitely be learned, as water and food from vendors will cost you far more gold than this spell does. Sometimes other players even want to buy conjured water and you can gain a little extra gold. Conjured items disappear after 15 minutes of being logged out.
Even though this is a Frost-ST guide, from Level 70 on solo Dungeon leveling with a Living Bomb Fire build becomes a very, if not the most viable leveling strategy for Mages. In addition, consider taking a look at the AoE leveling locations in the Frost Mage AoE Leveling Guide (make sure to set the slider to Level 70 so you see the leveling locations there). Most AoE farming cannot or can only hardly be pulled off with the Frost ST spec. If you want to AoE level from this point on, now is the best time to respec into Fire.
Summary of Trainer Skills for Single-Target Frost Mage
- At Level 1, buy Arcane Intellect as soon as you can afford it. It provides a significant boost to your Intellect which lasts for 30 minutes.
- At Level 4, buy Conjure Water and Frostbolt. Conjure Water creates free water you can use while leveling and to sell to others. Frostbolt deals strong single-target damage and slows the target by 40%.
- At Level 6, buy Conjure Food. Conjure Food creates free food, you can use while leveling and sell to others.
- Also buy Fireball at Level 6, as it does more damage than a Frostbolt without talents.
- At Level 8, buy Polymorph and Frostbolt. Polymorph Rank 1 allows you to take one humanoid or beast enemy out of combat for 20 seconds, which is very useful for looting quest items guarded by a single enemy or when dealing with several enemies. Only one enemy at a time can be Polymorphed and, in WotLK, crowd control effects can break at any time with an increasingly-higher chance to break toward the end of the effect.
- At Level 10, learn Conjure Water, Frost Armor, and Frost Nova. Frost Nova freezes nearby enemies for 8 seconds, allowing you to regain distance on them and to gain a damage bonus through Shatter when re-engaging. In these low levels, the damage component of Frost Nova can also be used to finish one enemy off and freeze another enemy to engage them with Frostbolt if you are fighting multiple enemies.
- At Level 12, buy Conjure Food and Slow Fall. Slow Fall slows your falling speed at the cost of a Light Feather. This comes in handy to avoid fall damage and enable shortcuts that would otherwise lead to death.
- At Level 14, buy Arcane Explosion, Arcane Intellect and Frostbolt. Arcane Explosion is your main AoE spell with the single-target spec. It is an instant-cast ability and can also be used to finish off low-health enemies, but it has high Mana cost. When you learn Icy Veins, which reduces your global cooldown while active from its normal 1.5 seconds, you will be able to deal damage faster with Arcane Explosion even faster.
- At Level 18, buy Tome of Remove Lesser Curse. Remove Curse is a bit niche for leveling since you will only rarely get cursed. However, the ability of this spell to remove curses from yourself or friends is very valuable later on in the game and you will definitely use it.
- At Level 20 in Wrath of the Lich King you can also buy your 60% mount.
- At Level 20, buy Blink, Frost Armor, Conjure Water, Evocation, Mana Shield, Polymorph and Frostbolt.
- In Stormwind, Ironforge, Exodar (Alliance) and Orgrimmar, Undercity, Silvermoon (Horde) you can now buy the teleport spells for each city.
- Each Teleport spell requires you to use one Rune of Teleportation, which can be bought at any reagent vendor. You can find reagent vendors by clicking the magnifier button on the mini map and they will be automatically displayed there when you are close to one. The Teleport spells can save a lot of travel time and makes learning new spells from your Mage trainers very convenient. Evocation is another great spell you will never want to miss. It restores 60% of your total Mana within 8 seconds. Use this ability as often as you can, as this will also increase your leveling speed by not having to drink. Blink is a utility spell that allows you to travel 20 yards instantly. It removes rooting effects and most stuns from you; you can use it together with Frost Nova to get away from enemies and you can use it as a tactical spell in dungeons to move out of AoE effects or to reposition yourself instead of walking to a new position for several seconds. Other applications of Blink are to skip enemies and to prevent death from falling — when falling down from somewhere, Blink can be used shortly before hitting the ground to avoid fall damage. Mana Shield will avoid cast time pushback and will absorb damage in dangerous situations. However, it costs Mana, so it is advised to be used only when needed as you will have to regenerate that Mana again.
- At Level 22, buy Arcane Explosion and Conjure Food
- At Level 24, buy Counterspell. Counterspell instantly interrupts enemy casts and prevents spells of the interrupted school from being cast for 10 seconds. This ability has a 30-second cooldown and finds a variety of applications in PvP and PvE.
- At Level 26, buy Frostbolt, Frost Nova, and Cone of Cold. Cone of Cold slows enemies in front of you with a frontal cone. In conjunction with the Shatter talent and a Frost Nova, it can deal severe damage to groups of enemies or finish them off. It can also be used defensively to flee from a dangerous situation, since it is instant-cast and slows enemies for 8 seconds. If you use it as a defensive ability, always use rank 1 to save mana.
- At Level 28, buy Arcane Intellect, Mana Shield, and Conjure Mana Gem. This is the first out of six spells that create Mana Gems, which can be used in and out of combat to instantly restore Mana. These gems do not share a cooldown with Mana Potions, have a 2-minute cooldown, and are consumed on use. Except for the last rank of this spell, these gems cost more Mana to make than they restore, so only use the first four ranks if really needed.
- At Level 30, buy Ice Armor, Ice Block, Arcane Explosion, Conjure Water, and Teleport: Darnassus (Alliance) or Teleport: Thunder Bluff (Horde) at the respective city's portal trainers. You now stop using Frost Armor and use the slightly-better Ice Armor instead. Ice Block is very useful if you get into hairy situations and can be used to remove debuffs on you, avoid any kind of damage, and to buy time when you are waiting for another cooldown or a healing spell to land on you in group content. This spell is very versatile and it is recommended to get a feeling of when to use it. Now that you have Shatter maxed out, it makes sense to learn Fire Blast Ranks 1-4 to "Shatter Combo" enemies. Shatter Combo means that the rotation against frozen targets changes to Frostbolt, followed by a Fire Blast, as both spells will benefit from the increased Critical Strike chance of Shatter. This "trick" will be used later-on with Ice Lance as well and is also useful for quickly finishing weakened enemies.
- At Level 32, buy Conjure Food and Frostbolt.
- At Level 34, buy Mage Armor and Cone of Cold. With Mage Armor, 30% of your Mana regeneration continues while casting. This may not sound like much, but it makes a significant difference for leveling speed. Further, it gives a small amount of magic resistance. At this point you should not get hit by too many physical attacks any more, so Mage Armor is preferred over Ice Armor.
- At Level 35 Portal: Theramore and Teleport: Theramore is available to learn for Alliance players in Theramore while Horde players can learn Portal: Stonard/ Teleport: Stonard in Stonard. The Stonard portal is useful later on to get to Karazhan fast.
- At Level 36, buy Mana Shield.
- At Level 38, buy Arcane Explosion, Conjure Mana Gem, Frostbolt, and Fire Blast.
- At Level 40, buy Conjure Water, Frost Nova and Polymorph. At Level 40, you can also start to buy the portal spells for each major city, except for Darnassus and Thunder Bluff which become trainable at level 50. Portals use a Rune of Portals from a reagent vendor and can be used by anyone in your group.
- At Level 40 in Wrath of the Lich King you can also buy your 100% mount.
- At Level 42, buy Arcane Intellect, Conjure Food, and Cone of Cold.
- At Level 44, buy Frostbolt and Mana Shield.
- At Level 46, buy Arcane Explosion, Ice Barrier, and Fire Blast.
- At Level 48, buy Conjure Mana Gem.
- At Level 50, buy Conjure Water, Frostbolt, Cone of Cold, and Portal: Darnassus (Alliance) or Portal: Thunder Bluff (Horde) at each respective city's portal trainers.
- At Level 52, buy Conjure Food, Mana Shield, and Ice Barrier.
- At Level 54, buy Arcane Explosion, Frost Nova, Fire Blast and all ranks of Fireball.
- At Level 56, buy Arcane Intellect, Arcane Brilliance, and Frostbolt. Arcane Brilliance buffs your whole group with Arcane Intellect and requires one charge of Arcane Powder from reagent vendors per cast.
- At Level 58, buy Conjure Mana Gem, Cone of Cold, and Ice Barrier.
- At Level 60, buy Conjure Food, Conjure Water, Frostbolt, Fireball, Fireball, Blizzard, Polymorph, Mana Shield, and Teleport: Shattrath in the middle of Shattrath (Alliance and Horde). In Outland you can buy better Filtered Draenic Water at Level 60 and Purified Draenic Water at Level 65, which are both better than the conjured Level 60 water. The Level 65 food Clefthoof Ribs is also better than the conjured Level 60 food.
- At Level 60 in Wrath of the Lich King you can also buy your 150% flying mount.
- At Level 61, buy Fire Blast.
- At Level 62, buy Molten Armor and Arcane Explosion. From now on Molten Armor is the suggested Armor type since it adds 3% crit chance and damages mobs when they hit you. It also decreases the chance to be critically hit with Physical attacks.
- At Level 63, buy Frostbolt.
- At Level 64, buy Ice Barrier.
- At Level 65, buy Conjure Water, Cone of Cold and Portal: Shattrath in the middle of Shattrath (Alliance and Horde).
- At Level 66, buy Ice Lance and Fireball. Ice Lance is your new Shatter Combo spell to use in conjunction with Frostbolt and has a range that is 10 yards longer than Fire Blast.
- At Level 67, buy Frost Nova.
- At Level 68, buy Invisibility, Mana Shield, Blizzard and Conjure Mana Gem. Invisibility is a new spell that takes 3 seconds to make you invisible. During that time, you fade, which is useful in dungeon groups, as it reduces your threat against all targets each second until you finally become invisible and drop combat. This spell can also be used to sneak by enemies and reach a quest spot earlier, or to flee and avoid death. The new Mana Emerald contains 3 charges and restores more Mana than it takes to conjure, so you can both use it like the old gems and also use it in between too for a net Mana regeneration.
- At Level 69, buy Frostbolt.
- At Level 70, buy Ice Barrier, Arcane Intellect, Frostbolt, Fireball, Arcane Explosion, Spellsteal, Arcane Brilliance, Conjure Food and Conjure Water. Learning Rank 9 of Conjure Water and Rank 8 of Conjure Food is most important, because these two spells unlock Ritual of Refreshment at your trainer. Ritual of Refreshment uses two Arcane Powders per cast and summons a table which gives everyone who uses it up to 80 Conjured Mana Biscuits. Most Innkeepers now also offer you Pungent Seal Whey at Level 70 and Honeymint Tea at Level 75, which are both better than the conjured Level 70 water. Spellsteal steals one beneficial magic effect from your target, which you can benefit from for a maximum of two minutes. There are a few, but not too many good spells you can steal. Choose between Glyph of Arcane Intellect, Glyph of Frost Armor and Glyph of Slow Fall.
- At Level 77 in Wrath of the Lich King you can also buy your Cold Weather Flying ability for Northrend and buy a book for your alts that can be used at Level 68 to allow flying in Northrend.
- At Level 71, buy Molten Armor. Teleport: Dalaran becomes available from the Mage trainers in Dalaran.
- At Level 72, buy Cone of Cold and Ice Lance.
- At Level 73, buy Mana Shield.
- At Level 74, buy Fireball, Fire Blast and Blizzard. Portal: Dalaran becomes available from the Mage trainers in Dalaran.
- At Level 75, buy Conjure Refreshment, Frostbolt, Ice Barrier, Frostfire Bolt and Frost Nova.
- At Level 76, buy Arcane Explosion.
- At Level 77, buy Conjure Mana Gem.
- At Level 78, buy Fireball and Ice Lance
- At Level 79, buy Molten Armor, Cone of Cold, Frostbolt, and Mana Shield.
- At Level 80, buy Mirror Image, Frostfire Bolt, Ice Barrier, Blizzard, Fire Blast, Arcane Intellect, Arcane Brilliance, Conjure Refreshment, Ritual of Refreshment, and Arcane Explosion. Your third Major Glyph will be available at Level 80. If you plan to play PvE, check the talents guide in link below for more Glyph information.
Additional Frost Mage Information After Reaching Level 80
After you reached Level 80, there is still a lot to learn. Our Frost Mage PvE Guide covers the most relevant and up-to-date information about your Frost Mage spells, talents, rotation, gear, and much more.
- 22 Sep. 2022: Added level 70-80 top leveling strategies.
- 19 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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