Fire Mage DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated Yesterday at 13:16 by Dutchmagoz 37 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Fire Mage core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Fire Mage.

The other pages of our Fire Mage guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Dutchmagoz. Dutchmagoz is a Mythic raider in UnknownError, owner of the Mage theorycrafting website Altered Time, and an admin of the Mage Discord server, Halls of the Guardian.

1. Ability Priority List for Fire Mage

Use the switches below to tailor the rotation to the talents you are using or situations you expect to be facing, and it will populate the rotation priority list appropriately:

  1. If Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power is talented, only cast Meteor during Rune of Power.
  2. Use Combustion Icon Combustion when it is off cooldown.
  3. Cast Pyroblast when you have a Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak proc.
  4. Cast Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath if Combustion Icon Combustion is active and you have no Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast available.
  5. Cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast when you have Heating Up Icon Heating Up.
  6. Cast Fireball Icon Fireball to generate Heating Up Icon Heating Up.
  7. Cast Scorch Icon Scorch if you have to move and have no instant casts to burn.

The core component of this specialization is chaining as many Critical Strikes together as possible to maintain large Ignite Icon Ignites. Fire is an extremely reactive specialization, meaning that most of your optimizations will occur moment to moment, rather than planning a large damage dump minutes in advance.

It is highly recommended you read the "Combustion Usage" section as it is of crucial importance to the Fire specialization.

For more information on your opening sequence, please refer to our dedicated section.

2. Important Notes for Fire Mages

2.1. Effectively Creating Crit Trains

Understanding how to generate Critical Strikes as efficiently as possible is key to utilizing Fire effectively. This is a specialization that is designed to crit more often than not, so it is easy to understand why learning to execute the right combos to create a chain of crits is of paramount importance.

Whenever you get a Heating Up Icon Heating Up proc, you should convert it to a Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak using Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast. Generally, you will then want to cast a Fireball Icon Fireball, and immediately spend your Hot Streak on a Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast as your Fireball cast finishes. Both of these spells will strike at the same time, chance at an immediate follow up Hot Streak if both of them critically strike. If only one of the spells critically strikes, Heating Up will proc and you can immediately Fire Blast and repeat this process.

There is a 0.2-second grace period where Heating Up Icon Heating Up will not be canceled if two spells impact simultaneously and only one of them critically strikes.

This is known as "Pyroblast Fishing" and is the best way to create a large chain of crits. The exception to this rule is during Combustion Icon Combustion, where all spells will crit, allowing you to chain together a variety of combos that will be covered in more detail later in the guide.

2.1.1. Spells That Do Not Trigger or Cancel Heating Up

2.2. Pyroclasm Usage

The Pyroclasm Icon Pyroclasm talent gives you a chance to proc the Pyroclasm Icon Pyroclasm buff, which makes your next non-instant Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast hit extremely hard. Normally, you will want to just cast these non-instant Pyroblasts as you get the procs, however, since the proc can stack up to 2 times, there are scenarios in which you should hold onto it as long as you only have 1 charge:

  • If you have a stack of Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power ready, and Combustion will not be ready before you get the second charge of Rune of Power. In this scenario, you should first cast Rune of Power, and then use the proc.
  • If Rune of Power will run out before you would be able to finish the non-instant Pyroblast, you should wait until Rune of Power ends and then cast the non-instant Pyroblast.

That said, the most important thing is actually using the Pyroclasm Icon Pyroclasm procs. If they ever time out before being used, it is a huge DPS loss. Because of this, it is advisable to always keep 1 stack of Shimmer Icon Shimmer available for the situation where you get a certain raid mechanic on you while casting the non-instant Pyroblast, so you can simply Shimmer away instead of interrupting this long cast and risk losing the proc.

2.3. Meteor Usage

Meteor Icon Meteor should always be used together with Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power, since they have the same cooldown. If you do not have Rune of Power talented, it should be used on cooldown, but make sure it is available when Combustion Icon Combustion becomes available.

2.4. Flamestrike Usage

Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike has a long cast time, and you should never hard cast it during an encounter, regardless of the number of enemies present. Rather, when a certain number of targets are present (5 or more, 3 or more with Flame Patch Icon Flame Patch talented), you will switch from spending your Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak procs on Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast to Flamestrike. Ignite Icon Ignite is also applied by Flamestrike. You should treat Flamestrike the same way you would treat Pyroblast rotationally, and follow the same spell priority you would on a single target. The main difference between Pyroblast and Flamestrike is that Flamestrike cannot generate Heating Up Icon Heating Up or Hot Streak, making crit chains less likely. Flamestrike is a targeted ability, so it can be helpful to already have the reticle placed during your Fireball Icon Fireball cast, allowing you to instantly Flamestrike.

It is important to note that casting Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike when 5+ targets are present may not be the best choice if the targets do not have equal kill priority. Though it will result in higher DPS, it can often be a wiser choice to Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast the most important targets first (on raid encounters) to give your group the greatest chance of success.

2.5. Rune of Power

Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power is a medium length cooldown that is best used to apply significant pressure during its duration. You should always overlap Rune of Power and Combustion Icon Combustion, as they both last 10 seconds. Start by casting Rune of Power, and immediately activating Combustion at the end of the cast, so they will both end at the same time. Rune of Power does have 2 charges, allowing you to save the second for a usage of your choice. Good times to use your second rune charge:

  • to push a damage check;
  • when several advantageous procs overlap;
  • during a period of zero movement;
  • on AoE.

Remember that Kindling Icon Kindling can dramatically change the timing of your Combustion Icon Combustion, and you will have to plan your Combustion usage accordingly to ensure you always have a charge available.

2.6. Blazing Barrier

This can be cast any time you have to slightly reposition. It lasts for 60 seconds, but only has a 25-second cooldown. You can and should cast it before the start of every engagement.

2.7. Scorch

Scorch Icon Scorch should be used in place of Fireball Icon Fireball while Combustion Icon Combustion is active. The reasoning is fairly straightforward:

  • Faster cast time
  • Guaranteed Critical Strike
  • No travel time

In contrast, Scorch Icon Scorch is very weak outside of Combustion Icon Combustion for the same reasons. Because it has no travel time, you cannot efficiently fish for Pyroblast Icon Pyroblasts.

Scorch Icon Scorch can be cast while moving, and will also grant you a speed buff when talented into Frenetic Speed Icon Frenetic Speed. Wherever possible, try to instead rely on Shimmer Icon Shimmer before relying on Scorch. This spell, when combined with Frenetic Speed Icon Frenetic Speed, can be very useful for extended movement if your charges of Shimmer Icon Shimmer are unavailable. Try not to lean too heavily on this spell as a movement crutch, however, as it will deflate your damage due to its lack of potency.

3. Core Concepts for Fire Mage

Fire Mage is an elementary enough specialization to perform on a target dummy, but there are a few key factors that will separate the good from the great. Learning to focus on what is important and master the core concepts of a specialization is what leads to strong overall performance on the damage charts. There are 3 major concepts that form the central trinity of optimizing for success:

  1. proper use of Combustion Icon Combustion;
  2. critical Strike chains;
  3. movement management.

Managing movement is a fundamental skill shared by all the caster classes in World of Warcraft. The highly mobile nature of the Mage class allows flexible and creative ways to move during combat, making it of supreme importance that you give this the proper respect.

3.1. Combustion Usage

Combustion Icon Combustion should be used on cooldown whenever possible. You should always overlap Combustion with other damage boosts that allow for a large overall Ignite Icon Ignite, such as Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power and Meteor Icon Meteor.

Before activating Combustion Icon Combustion you should generate a Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak. You should also try and save at least one charge of Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast, though preferably all charges will be available. Then follow this list of actions.

  1. Place your Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power (if talented) and immediately activate Combustion Icon Combustion as this cast finishes.
  2. Consume your Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak with a Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast cast.
  3. Immediately cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast and Pyroblast again.
  4. Repeat this chain of Pyroblast + Fire Blast until you run out of Fire Blasts.
  5. Cast Pyroblast.
  6. Cast Scorch.
  7. Cast Pyroblast.
  8. Cast Scorch.
  9. Keep repeating until Combustion runs out.

3.2. Critical Strike Chains

We talked about "Pyro Fishing" earlier in the guide, so there is no need to go over it in detail again here. It should not be understated, however, how important properly chaining together your abilities is, and the overall impact it has on your DPS. This is especially true on cleave, as building a smooth and powerful Ignite Icon Ignite will determine how much cleave and AoE you are able to output. Get used to properly chaining your spells by practicing on target dummies or in LFR.

3.3. Movement Management

While it is difficult to describe the best ways to position and move during a dungeon or raid encounter, it is essential to your success as a Fire Mage.

Try and use Shimmer Icon Shimmer for "urgent" movement — when you need to travel from one place to another as quickly as possible. Blazing Barrier Icon Blazing Barrier is a good choice when you only need to take a few steps, as it only costs a single global cooldown.

The combination of Scorch Icon Scorch and Frenetic Speed Icon Frenetic Speed can also be useful for extended movement if Shimmer Icon Shimmer is unavailable.

Always try to position yourself in a location central to fight movement. For example, if the boss is being moved in a circle, try to stay on the inside of the kite path to ensure minimal movement.

3.3.1. Quiet Movement

Many players will unconsciously move during fights, despite it being unnecessary. For example, sometimes the boss or adds will be moved by the tank a couple yards, and though you are still in range to cast, you subconsciously mirror that movement, costing you global cooldowns. Consciously work to "quiet" your movement, and reduce unnecessary movement to a minimum. The best way to see this in action is to take a video of your raid, then watch yourself play. Most players will be surprised by the amount of wasted movement they commit. When you are forced to move, make use of the tips above, and make your path as direct and decisive as possible.

4. Opening Sequence for Fire Mage

  1. Use Battle Potion of Intellect Icon Battle Potion of Intellect.
  2. Pre-cast Fireball Icon Fireball at 2.0 seconds on the countdown.
  3. When running Firestarter Icon Firestarter, keep chaining Fireballs and Pyroblast Icon Pyroblasts until the boss reaches 90% Health.
  4. Place Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power.
  5. Activate any on-use trinkets or racials you have.
  6. Activate Combustion Icon Combustion.
  7. Cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast if Heating Up Icon Heating Up activates. If Heating Up did not activate from your pre-cast, instead cast Fire Blast and Scorch. If you got a Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak due to running Firestarter Icon Firestarter, you can skip this step.
  8. Cast Pyroblast.
  9. Cast Fire Blast.
  10. Cast Pyroblast.
  11. Cast Fire Blast.
  12. Cast Pyroblast.
  13. Cast Scorch.
  14. Cast Pyroblast.
  15. Cast Fire Blast.
  16. Cast Pyroblast.
  17. Cast Scorch.
  18. Cast Pyroblast.

If you get any procs from Pyromaniac Icon Pyromaniac, simply use them immediately. The opener is of paramount importance. It is recommended you practice in LFR or on a target dummy to build enough muscle memory to consistently execute it without flaws. If you are playing with Firestarter Icon Firestarter, you should chain Fireballs and Pyroblasts until the target reaches 90% Health, and then go into Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power and Combustion Icon Combustion with a Hot Streak ready.

5. Changelog

  • 17 Oct. 2018: Improved Pyroclasm usage for latest findings.
  • 03 Oct. 2018: Updated the rotation switches to show talents more precisely.
  • 29 Sep. 2018: Added switches to enable or disable talents from the rotation.
  • 21 Aug. 2018: Added Dragon's Breath to Combustion rotation, and updated AoE target counts.
  • 12 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 07 Aug. 2018: Added Flame Patch condition to Flamestrike usage.
  • 18 Jul. 2018: Changed Pyroclasm usage because of nerfs.
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