Classic Mage DPS Spell Summary
This page will list the relevant skills for a Mage, and explain what they do. It is recommended that you read through this page in order to have a basis for the various topics that are discussed throughout the rest of this guide.
Core Rotational Abilities for Mages against a Single Target
Frostbolt is your bread and butter PvE spell as a Frost Mage, as it has the best damage, range, and Mana cost ratio in their kit. Even in PvP, it has plenty of uses, as long as you are able to cast it before being interrupted. Its Rank 1 version is one of the fastest casting spells in the game, while keeping its strong slowing properties, and should be used whenever you are requiring a quick single-target slow.
Scorch is, technically, only used to stack Improved Scorch and to finish enemies off as a Fire Mage in PvE. For PvP, however, its short cast time and no travel time make it a very useful finisher or quick cast you can use while kiting or chasing enemies.
Fireball, is a Fire Mage's PvE bread and butter spell, for much the same reasons as Frostbolt for Frost: it has the best damage, range, and Mana cost ratio in the kit and scales well with spell damage. In PvP, its uses are limited by its high cast time, but if you can find an opening feel free to cast some!
Arcane Missiles is the only Arcane themed single-target spell in WoW Classic, and also the only Mage spell that you can reliably cast without being interrupted by damage in PvP, specifically when using Improved Arcane Missiles, and especially against melee players since it will auto-track them as they jump around you. Unfortunately, its overall damage, range, and Mana cost ratio is way worse than the other options, making it not viable for PvE.
Core Rotational Abilities for Mages against Multiple Targets
Flamestrike causes strong area of effect damage instantly, followed by extra damage over 8 seconds to enemies who stay in its area of effect. Due to its high cast time requirements, it is typically used with Presence of Mind or as an opener against unsuspecting or frozen enemies.
Blizzard also causes strong area of effect damage but, unlike Flamestrike, this damage starts immediately and is spread over its 8-second duration. When you are using it with Improved Blizzard it also slows enemies in its area of effect, converting it into the ultimate tool in the AoE grinding Mage's kit. Use Rank 1 to quickly push enemies out of stealth.
Arcane Explosion causes moderate area of effect damage instantly around you. Its instant, no-cooldown nature, makes it great for finishing weakened enemies off, and also causes its damage to be guaranteed, while you can easily be interrupted, or even killed before Flamestrike or Blizzard deal damage.
Cone of Cold causes strong area of effect damage instantly in front of you, and also slows for a considerable amount, with a long duration. This makes it one of Mage's best do-it-all tools, which you will be using in most PvE solo situations and everywhere you go, in PvP.
Cooldowns for Mages
Because Mage is such a versatile class, it is impossible to cleanly divide most of their cooldowns into strictly defensive, and strictly offensive ones. Even something usually purely defensive like Ice Block can be used to quickly break crowd control and chase down a fleeing player. Thus, instead of categorizing them into offensive and defensive categories, we will comment on each individually.
Evocation causes you to rapidly regenerate most of your Mana over 8 seconds of channeling, with a cooldown of 8 minutes. Use it to quickly regain Mana in the middle of combat, if you find yourself out of Mana.
Fire Blast is available to all Mages and causes an instant burst of damage to an enemy. Use it to finish off low-health enemies or when casting is not opportune, such as when chasing fleeing enemies, and against enemies who will interrupt your casts.
Cooldowns specific to Frost Mages
Cold Snap has a lengthy 10-minutes cooldown, but instantly resets all of your Frost spell cooldowns when used. This makes it an incredibly flexible tool, for damage in the form of back-to-back Cone of Colds, and for control in the form of extra Frost Novas and Ice Blocks.
Ice Block literally turns you into an ice block, immune to all enemy attacks for 10 seconds, but also incapable of performing any action while it is active. It removes all debuffs on you, which is extremely useful against Warlocks, but its main use is to allow you to survive overwhelming odds, while planning your next move and waiting for cooldowns to reset.
Ice Barrier creates a barrier of ice around you, absorbing damage for 1 minute. This is very useful, for the extra survivability, and also for the immunity to spell interruption from damage while it lasts.
Cooldowns specific to Fire Mages
Pyroblast does huge damage, but also requires 6 seconds to be cast. This means it is usually used alongside Presence of Mind or as an opener, before enemy players can react to your presence or while they are Polymorphed.
Blast Wave is both a powerful AoE damage spell, and a crowd control tool due to its 50% slow for 6 seconds to anyone hit. Use it when kiting, and to open up a fight, especially against multiple opponents.
Combustion is a powerful 3-minute cooldown that causes your critical strike chance with Fire spells to increase by 10% (stacking) for each of your Fire spell hits, lasting until you caused 3 critical strikes with Fire spells. Use it for bursting down enrage phases or whenever all of your other cooldowns and trinkets are also available.
Cooldowns specific to Arcane Mages
Presence of Mind makes your next spell be instantly cast, but only once every 3-minutes. This can be used to burst very hard with Pyroblast (or Frostbolt, if you are not Fire specced), to instantly crowd control an enemy with Polymorph and other, more niche, uses.
Arcane Power increases your damage by 30% but makes them also cost 30% more Mana, and only lasts 15 seconds, with a 3-minute cooldown. This is a very powerful boost to your damage, but ultimately it requires a heavy commitment to the Arcane tree that lowers your burst damage outside of the Arcane Power window.
Baseline Passives for Mages
Dodge allows you to avoid a melee attack, as long as you are facing the enemy when it is attacking.
Shoot allows you to use a wand to deal damage, saving Mana in the process.
Movement Abilities for Mages
Blink lets you teleport a short distance in front of wherever you are facing, assuming there are no obstacles in the way. It also removes stuns and root effects, making it extremely useful to use immediately after being hit with Intercept, Kidney Shot, and similar abilities.
Crowd Control Abilities for Mages
Counterspell interrupts enemy casts for 10 seconds, on a 30-second cooldown. Use it to keep enemies under control while you (and your group) kill them.
Frost Nova freezes nearby enemies, stopping their movements. This is very useful to gain distance against melee enemies, or when chasing fleeing enemies. It can also increase your damage through Shatter's effect.
Polymorph disables an enemy for a long duration, during which it will rapidly heal to full health. This is one of the most reliable hard crowd control spells in the game, and you can use it to gain control over your opponents in most types of situations where you are fighting multiple targets.
Buffs from Mages
Arcane Intellect increases the Intellect of yourself, or a target party member, by a fixed amount for a long duration. Use this to boost the Mana pool and critical strike chance of your team.
Frost Armor and Ice Armor slow enemies who hit you in melee, as well as granting you some extra armor (and Frost resistance, in the case of Ice Armor). These are typically quite useful against melee enemies, reducing both their mobility and their damage if they ever get close to you.
Mage Armor increases your magic resistance and allows 30% of your Mana to continue while you are casting, which translates to a lot of Mana gain over the course of a long encounter.
Mana Shield absorbs physical damage, but drains 2 points of Mana per each damage absorbed, which can quickly run out of Mana, if you are not careful. Still, this shield will prevent interruption from damage and dazing or getting dismounted from damage while active, which is extremely useful. It also often save your life against overwhelming burst damage such as what Eviscerate can do.
Dampen Magic and Amplify Magic reduce and increase the target's magic damage taken, and also the healing it receives from spells. This is very useful to reduce the damage you take against magic-wielding enemies while solo, or to increase your healing received when facing physical damage enemies, while in a group.
Fire Ward and Frost Ward shield you for a significant amount of Fire and Frost damage, respectively. Use them when you know you will be taking potentially deadly damage of their respective type within the next 30 seconds.
Utility Abilities for Mages
Portal: Stormwind, Portal: Orgrimmar, Portal: Ironforge, Portal: Undercity, Portal: Darnassus, Portal: Thunder Bluff are all tools you can use to facilitate your group's transportation around the world.
Slow Fall causes you to fall slowly for the next 30 seconds, and requires a Light Feather to be used. Its most obvious use is to prevent fall damage, but it can also be used to reach otherwise impossible to reach places.
Detect Magic allows you and your party to see what beneficial magic effects are present on the target. A niche spell, it is typically used to give your group advance warning on important buffs that might need to be dispelled off the target.
Conjure Mana Agate, Conjure Mana Jade, Conjure Mana Citrine, and Conjure Mana Ruby serve as Mana "potions" during combat. You can only have one of each in your inventory at any time, and recasting them during combat wastes more Mana than you would gain, so keep some of them with you before entering prolonged combat.
- 30 Jun. 2019: Page added.
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