Fire Mage DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Nov 23, 2020 at 19:26 by Dutchmagoz 1 comment
General Information

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Fire Mage in both single-target and multiple-target situations. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Mage rotation.

1.

Fire Mage Rotation

Welcome to our Rotation page for Fire Mages. On this page you will find everything you need to know about actually playing the spec in Raiding scenarios.

1.1.

Mythic+

The primary focus on this page is on raiding scenarios. Although the rotation is going to give pretty good results in Mythic+ as well, for a more Mythic+ oriented rotation, see our Mythic+ page.

1.2.

Easy Mode

If the rotations below seem overwhelming to you, or you would simply like to read a more simplified version of the rotation, you might benefit from visiting our Easy Mode page which outlines a close-to-optimal rotation in simpler terms.

1.3.

PvP

The content on this page is purely PvE-related. If you are looking for PvP Rotation Tips, please visit our PvP page below.

2.

Single-Target Rotation 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. Cast Combustion Icon Combustion while a Fireball Icon Fireball is in the air flying to the target.
  2. Cast Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power if Rune of Power is not already active due to Combustion.
  3. Cast Pyroblast Icon 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 there is less than 1 second left on Combustion.
  5. Cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast when you have Heating Up Icon Heating Up.
  6. Cast Phoenix Flames Icon Phoenix Flames when you have Heating Up Icon Heating Up and Combustion Icon Combustion is active.
  7. Cast Phoenix Flames Icon Phoenix Flames when Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power is active, and you will cap on Phoenix Flames charges before Combustion Icon Combustion is ready.
  8. Cast Scorch Icon Scorch if the target is below 30% Health.
  9. Cast Fireball Icon Fireball to generate Heating Up Icon Heating Up.
  10. 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 Mastery: Ignite Icon Mastery: 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.

We strongly recommend reading the opening section below on how exactly the Combustion phases and the opener look.

2.1.

How to use Covenant Abilities in the Fire Mage Rotation

Most Covenant abilities are simply used on cooldown, with some optimisations:

  • Cast Shifting Power when you are out of Fire Blast charges and Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power and Combustion Icon Combustion are not currently active. Whenever you use Shifting Power, make sure you are in melee range so it hits your target.
  • Cast Mirrors of Torment Icon Mirrors of Torment around 10 seconds before you plan to use Combustion Icon Combustion. Make sure to not sit close to 3 Charges of Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast while Mirrors of Torment is on the target, to avoid over-capping on Fire Blast charges when it procs.
  • Cast Radiant Spark Icon Radiant Spark on cooldown.
  • Cast Deathborne Icon Deathborne on cooldown, but try to sync it with Combustion Icon Combustion. Do not delay Deathborne for more than 30 seconds when trying to sync it with Combustion, unless you are certain you will only get 1 more Deathborne usage maximum on the fight.
3.

Multi-Target Rotation for Fire Mage

Most of your damage on multiple targets will come from simply doing your single-target rotation and spreading Mastery: Ignite Icon Mastery: Ignite to nearby targets via Phoenix Flames Icon Phoenix Flames (see below on how to maximise this). However, there are some spell usage changes to the rotation depending on target counts. It is worth noting, that most of the advice below assumes all targets are equally important. If any of the targets are higher priority, it is almost always worth purely focusing the primary target and spreading Ignite to the other targets.

Without Flame Patch Icon Flame Patch talented:

With Flame Patch Icon Flame Patch talented:

If you use Firestorm Icon Firestorm and it procs, treat it like a hard-cast when looking at the above list.

Cast Living Bomb Icon Living Bomb if there are 3 or more targets stacked, and at least 1 of the targets will live for at least 8 seconds.

Cast Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath if there are 3+ targets present.

3.1.

Efficiently Spreading Ignite to Nearby Targets

It is key that on multiple targets, you spread your Mastery: Ignite Icon Mastery: Ignite to nearby targets as often as possible, while the Ignite is as big as possible. To achieve this, you will never want to use Phoenix Flames Icon Phoenix Flames if you did not recently have a Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast hit on the target, but instead use it right after you got a streak of Pyroblasts.

During Combustion Icon Combustion you will want to use Phoenix Flames Icon Phoenix Flames as a replacement for Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast when you run out of Fire Blasts. This will already guarantee that you are spreading Mastery: Ignite Icon Mastery: Ignite when it is very big. The only exception is, when you are actively in Combustion, but there are no nearby targets, and you know there will be soon. In this case, you need to Keep one stack of Phoenix Flames for when the extra targets arrive and immediately spread Ignite to them.

4.

Important Notes for Fire Mages

4.1.

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.

4.1.1.

Spells That Do Not Trigger or Cancel Heating Up

4.2.

Pyroclasm Usage

The Pyroclasm Icon Pyroclasm talent gives a chance to proc the buff of the same name, 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 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.

4.3.

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.

4.4.

Flamestrike Usage

Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike is Fire's spammable source of AoE damage. It is generally not used much, unless you have no meaningful high priority targets and you want to AoE everything down at a similar pace. Mastery: Ignite Icon Mastery: Ignite is also applied by Flamestrike. Flamestrike is a targeted ability, so it can be helpful to already have the reticle placed during your previous spell cast, allowing you to instantly Flamestrike. At certain target counts, you will change the single-target rotation from using Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak on Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast to Flamestrike.

It is important to note that casting Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike when multiple 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.

Below, we have listed all the exact scenarios during which you should cast Flamestrike, assuming all targets have equal priority:

Without Flame Patch Icon Flame Patch talented:

With Flame Patch Icon Flame Patch talented:

If you use Firestorm Icon Firestorm and it procs, treat it like a hard-cast when looking at the above list.

4.5.

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. Rune of Power will always overlap with Combustion Icon Combustion automatically due to the passive portion. The active portion should be used in combination with Meteor Icon Meteor, if talented, since they have similar cooldowns. Additionally, it can be used:

  • to push a damage check;
  • when several advantageous procs overlap;
  • during a period of zero movement;
  • on AoE.
4.6.

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.

4.7.

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. The only exception is when you have talented Searing Touch Icon Searing Touch, and your target is under 30% Health, as you can then use Scorch freely instead of Fireball.

5.

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.

5.1.

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 Mastery: Ignite Icon Mastery: Ignite, such as Meteor Icon Meteor, trinkets and racials.

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

  1. Cast Meteor Icon Meteor, (if talented) or Fireball Icon Fireball if no Meteor talented.
  2. Cast Combustion Icon Combustion and any on-use trinkets and racials you might have 0.5 seconds after casting Meteor, or at the end of the previous Fireball if Meteor is not talented.
  3. Consume your Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak with a Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast cast, if Meteor Icon Meteor is talented, or cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast if it is not talented and then consume Hot Streak.
  4. Immediately cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast and Pyroblast again.
  5. Repeat this chain of Pyroblast + Fire Blast until you run out of Fire Blasts.
  6. Continue chaining Pyroblasts and Fire Blasts until you are out of Fire Blast charges.
  7. Replace Fire Blast for Phoenix Flames Icon Phoenix Flames and keep alternating Pyroblast and Phoenix Flames until you are out of Phoenix Flames charges.
  8. Replace Phoenix Flames for Scorch Icon Scorch and keep alternating Pyroblast and Scorch until Combustion is over.
5.2.

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 Mastery: Ignite Icon Mastery: 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.

5.3.

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.

5.3.1.

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.

6.

Opening Sequence for Fire Mage

The opener below assumes the standard talent setup, containing Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power and Kindling Icon Kindling as talents, while having the Night Fae Covenant.

  1. Pre-cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast at 4.0 seconds on the countdown.
  2. Cast Combustion Icon Combustion and activate any on-use trinkets and racials that you might have right before finishing the Pyroblast.
  3. Cast Phoenix Flames Icon Phoenix Flames.
  4. Cast Pyroblast, and immediately cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast.
  5. Cast Pyroblast, and immediately cast Fire Blast.
  6. Cast Pyroblast, and immediately cast Fire Blast.
  7. Cast Pyroblast, and immediately cast Fire Blast.
  8. Replace Fire Blast for Phoenix Flames Icon Phoenix Flames and continue chaining Pyroblast and Phoenix Flames until you are out of Phoenix Flames.
  9. Replace Phoenix Flames for Scorch Icon Scorch and continue chaining Pyroblast and Scorch until Combustion ends.
  10. Cast Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power when Combustion is over and go into the standard rotation.

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.

7.

Changelog

  • 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Night Fae nerf. Changed rotation to no longer use Shifting Power in Combustion.
  • 20 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands launch. Changed the single target rotation to the new optimal rotation for Shadowlands, added covenant and legendary usage to the rotation, updated Flamestrike/AoE priority and made it more clear when to cast Flamestrike, removed Essence / Wrist usage, updated opener.
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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