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Fire Mage PvP Guide (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated on May 29, 2018 at 16:34 by Mysticall 24 comments

Table of Contents


This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play a Fire Mage in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, artifacts, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Mysticall, a seasoned PvP player who has repeatedly achieved Arena Master and 2500 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta for Fire Mages

Fire Mages are in a great place in terms of PvP. It is by far the strongest of the three Mage specs. The main class a Mage should be looking to pair with is a Rogue. With coordinated stuns into Polymorphs and a strong healer (Resto Druid or Holy Paladin), Rogue/Mage/Druid is a force to be reckoned with on the PvP ladder.

1.1. Strengths of Fire Mages

  • Great control
  • Decent mobility
  • Strong consistent damage

1.2. Weaknesses of Fire Mages

  • Lack of burst
  • Predictable burst damage
  • Very few defensive cooldowns

2. Talent Choices for Fire Mages

Regular talents work in both PvP and PvE content (although they may sometimes work differently in the two environments, which is indicated by their tooltips). In other words, they are always active.

On the other hand, Honor talents are inactive outside of a PvP environment.

2.1. Regular Talents for Fire Mages

2.1.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

The best choice in this tier is Pyromaniac Icon Pyromaniac or Conflagration Icon Conflagration. Take Pyromaniac Icon Pyromaniac if you are planning on staying on one target. If your team plans on switching targets often, it is a better choice to use Conflagration Icon Conflagration as it will deal more consistent AoE damage.

2.1.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Shimmer Icon Shimmer is the best choice in this tier. This is very strong when trying to get crowd control on the enemy team. If an enemy is trying to get out of line of sight of your Polymorph Icon Polymorph, for example, you can Shimmer while casting it and avoid losing line of sight. This talent replaces Blink Icon Blink.

2.1.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Incanter's Flow Icon Incanter's Flow is the best choice in this tier. Try to perform your burst damage rotation when you have 5 stacks of Incanter's Flow, for maximum damage.

2.1.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Flame On Icon Flame On is the best choice in this tier. This allows for more consistent Heating Up Icon Heating Up procs, which results in more overall damage.

2.1.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

When playing against Resto Druids, choose Ring of Frost Icon Ring of Frost. This is because Druids can be a tough target to Polymorph Icon Polymorph, and using Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath into Ring of Frost is a strong crowd-control chain against them.

When playing against any other team, choose Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes. Matched with Shimmer Icon Shimmer, Fire Mages have some of the best mobility. This allows you to cast while moving, which can help in kiting or running down your opponent.

2.1.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Unstable Magic Icon Unstable Magic is the best choice in this tier. It helps with pressuring multiple enemies at the same time, something that Fire Mages are good at. One thing to note, is that it can break crowd control, so try to crowd control the enemy far from their teammates with this debuff.

2.1.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Meteor Icon Meteor is the best choice in this tier, providing good single target and AoE burst. Set it up by having a teammate stun the kill target. If there is no stun, you can use Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath and then cast Meteor on the target.

2.2. Honor Talents for Fire Mages

2.2.1. Tier 1 Talents

Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is the standard PvP trinket effect with a 2-minute cooldown.

2.2.2. Tier 2 Talents

Mind Quickness Icon Mind Quickness is the best choice in this tier. It helps get Polymorph Icon Polymorphs and Fireball Icon Fireballs off more.

2.2.3. Tier 3 Talents

When playing against casters, Prismatic Cloak Icon Prismatic Cloak is the best choice. This ability causes all spells to miss you for 1.5 seconds after using Blink Icon Blink, and it helps significantly when trying to get crowd control off.

When playing against melee, Burning Determination Icon Burning Determination is the best choice. This helps in a few different scenarios against melee. If you are interrupted while casting Polymorph Icon Polymorph, you can spam Fireball Icon Fireballs; if are interrupted while casting Fireball, you can spam Polymorphs.

If you are playing against a team with two melee on it, Netherwind Armor Icon Netherwind Armor is the best choice in this tier. This will significantly reduce the damage done to you.

2.2.4. Tier 4 Talents

When playing against Resto Druid teams, the best choice is Kleptomania Icon Kleptomania. You can remove every single buff or HoT when the Resto Druid is crowd-controlled.

When playing against other teams, the best choice is Temporal Shield Icon Temporal Shield. Use this when your healer is crowd-controlled and the team is bursting you. Once the shield expires, you will be healed for all the damage it has absorbed. This helps your survivability and your healer.

2.2.5. Tier 5 Talents

Tinder Icon Tinder is the best choice in this tier. It helps create quick-to-cast Fireball Icon Fireballs that deal additional damage.

2.2.6. Tier 6 Talents

Firestarter Icon Firestarter is the best choice in this tier. This will allow you to reduce the cooldowns of your Combustion Icon Combustion significantly when using Fireball Icon Fireball. This gives your team more kill potential with more frequent burst.

3. Racial Bonuses for Fire Mages

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

3.1. Horde

The passive Orc racial bonus (Hardiness Icon Hardiness) is great if you find yourself being stunned a lot and having a hard time against melee classes.

The Blood Elf Silence (Arcane Torrent Icon Arcane Torrent) is really strong as well. This adds more crowd control Fire Mages can bring to the table.

3.2. Alliance

The Human racial bonus (Every Man for Himself Icon Every Man for Himself) is a great way to get out of stuns.

4. Playstyle for Fire Mages

The main role for a Fire Mage is simple: use your large crowd control toolkit and mobility to lock down healers. When they are crowd controlled, use your explosive damage to burst your target down.

There are two "roles" a Fire Mage has in arena.

The first role is locking down the healer. You will push in and get crowd control on the healer (Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath into Polymorph Icon Polymorph). The second role is bursting on the main target. When the enemy healer is in crowd control, and you have burst cooldowns, Fire Mages have a burst rotation that requires almost no casting, thanks to instant Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast from Heating Up Icon Heating Up procs.

Fire, when specced into Ring of Frost Icon Ring of Frost, has 3 different spell schools. Why is this important? If you are interrupted when casting Fireball Icon Fireball (Fire school) you can start casting Polymorph Icon Polymorph to crowd control the healer. Polymorph is in the Arcane school, and because the enemy team already interrupted you, you are free to cast Polymorph. If the team also interrupts that, you can cast Ring of Frost on the healer or melee that might be sitting on you. Ring of Frost is in the Frost school. It is the combination of this toolkit and the explosive damage Fire has that makes it so viable.

4.1. Before Gates Open

Set a table for your team. Mage food actually restores health and Mana faster than normal food and water from vendors. Use Invisibility Icon Invisibility to guarantee your opener without any interruptions.

4.2. Offensive Rotation

There are a few things to keep in mind.

4.2.1. The Opener

The opener refers to your team's opening crowd control chain and damage done as soon as you get out of the gates. The main goal in the opener is to force your enemies to use their cooldowns. If the enemy healer uses their trinket in the opener, they are in trouble. When the diminishing returns on your Polymorph Icon Polymorph have faded, they will have little to no outs for the incoming crowd control you and your teammates have for them.

Likewise, if an enemy DPS uses their trinket, you can crowd control the healer and stun the DPS without a trinket. This means they can be burst down in a stun and possibly killed.

When opening, if playing against a Resto Druid, do the following:

  1. Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath into Polymorph Icon Polymorph for crowd control.
  2. Spellsteal Icon Spellsteal the HoTs the Druid puts on your main target.
  3. Use your burst rotation.
  4. After your burst, perform your do sustained damage rotation until your burst cooldowns are available.

Against other healers who do not have strong HoTs, simply omit the Spellsteal Icon Spellsteal step, since you will most likely not have specced into Kleptomania Icon Kleptomania anyway.

4.2.2. Burst Damage

When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage.

  1. Start with a Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak proc.
  2. Cast Meteor Icon Meteor.
  3. Cast Combustion Icon Combustion.
  4. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.
  5. Cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast.
  6. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.
  7. Cast Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast.
  8. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.
  9. Cast Fireball Icon Fireball.
  10. Cast  Icon Phoenix's Flames.
  11. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.
  12. Cast  Icon Phoenix's Flames.
  13. Cast Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.

Make sure to use Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast when you have Combustion Icon Combustion active, to ensure that it is a critical strike. A common mistake is to assume it will not be a critical strike, and instead waste the Heating Up Icon Heating Up proc on a different spell. Always assume your Pyroblast will be a critical strike while Combustion is active.

4.2.3. Sustained damage

Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.

  1. Use Fireball Icon Fireballs until you get a critical strike.
  2. When you get a Heating Up Icon Heating Up proc, use Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast to get an instant Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast proc.
  3. Use Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.
  4. Use  Icon Phoenix's Flames if you want to put out another Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast.

4.3. Defensive Techniques

Temporal Shield Icon Temporal Shield should be used when the other team is popping cooldowns. At the end of the shield, you will get healed for as much damage as they have done. This ability is crucial for Fire Mage survivability.

Prismatic Cloak Icon Prismatic Cloak together with the Shimmer Icon Shimmer talent causes you to be healed when you Blink Icon Blink and also be immune to spells for 1.5 seconds afterwards. If a caster is casting a hard-hitting spell, you can Blink at the end of the cast and be immune to it to be able to use Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath. You can take advantage of this to crowd control healers by following Dragon's Breath up with Ring of Frost Icon Ring of Frost or Polymorph Icon Polymorph. It can also be good for peeling for you or your teammates: use Dragon's Breath to keep DPS off you, cast your crowd control and Blink away. Then cast Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova against the melee on top of you and push in to crowd control the healer with Dragon's Breath.

Cauterize Icon Cauterize is now baseline for Fire Mages. This passive gives Fire Mages a "second life" burning your health for 6 seconds. It also increases your movement speed. This is very useful when you are about to die and it helps you get away from enemies.

Blazing Barrier Icon Blazing Barrier has also been given to Fire Mages. This is a slightly weaker form of Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier. However, it deals damage when you are strike by melee attacks. It is best used right before being stunned or when enemies are using cooldowns.

5. Best Team Compositions for Fire Mages

Now that you have the correct talents and understand your damage rotation, it is time to step into the arena with your team. With spells like Combustion Icon Combustion and multiple schools of spells, Fire Mages have an aggressive and fast-paced playstyle.

5.1. 2v2 Arena

In 2v2 Arena, you do not have many options. It can be quite difficult to kill a healer in 2v2 by yourself, so you will likely be focusing an enemy DPS. Before you use your burst rotation, make sure the enemy healer is in crowd control. Ideally, you will be playing with a healer that can stun. After the stun, cast Polymorph Icon Polymorph and use your burst rotation. If you get interrupted while casting Polymorph Icon Polymorph, you can still cast Fire spells. Fire Mages have a lot of instant damage and will not struggle against melee DPS like the other Mage specializations. It is important to note that Mages have Spellsteal Icon Spellsteal and can use it to steal HoTs to heal themselves. This is a great spell versus Restoration Druids and Discipline Priests that have multiple spells that you can steal.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:

  • Fire Mage + Subtlety Rogue
  • Fire Mage + Discipline Priest
  • Fire Mage + Holy Paladin
  • Fire Mage + Restoration Druid

5.2. 3v3 Arena

Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. As a Fire Mage you will be focusing on controlling the enemy team with slows and Polymorph Icon Polymorph. Before your team uses burst cooldowns, make sure there is crowd control on the enemy healer. If you are playing with a Rogue, remember that Polymorph Icon Polymorph shares a diminishing return with Sap Icon Sap and your Polymorph Icon Polymorph will be half duration in the opener. Remember, Fire Mage damage is mostly instant and you need to balance damage with crowd control. While you are using crowd control, weave in instant Pyroblast Icon Pyroblasts or make sure you have Hot Streak Icon Hot Streak procs so you can start dealing damage as soon as the enemy healer is in crowd control. It is important to note that you are not limited to using Polymorph Icon Polymorph on the enemy healer. If an enemy DPS using their burst cooldowns, you can slow/root and Polymorph Icon Polymorph them. This will help your healer significantly.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:

  • RMD (Fire Mage + Subtlety/Assassination Rogue + Discipline Priest)
  • WMD (Fire Mage + Arms Warrior + Holy Paladin)
  • FMP (Fire Mage + Feral Druid + Holy Paladin)
  • Fire Mage + Destruction Warlock + Holy Paladin

6. Useful Macros for Fire Mages

Macros are crucial to be successful in PvP. They allow players to use abilities on enemies without having to target them. This helps increase overall damage/healing and general awareness in the arena. Here are a few macros that all Fire Mages can benefit from.

6.1. Polymorph 123 Macro

  • #showtooltip Polymorph
  • /cast [target=arena1] Polymorph

Using this macro will cast Polymorph Icon Polymorph on arena enemy 1. This makes it easier to crowd control an enemy while staying focused on your target. If you want macros for the second and third enemies, simply change the arena1 to arena2 or arena3.

6.2. Polymorph Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Polymorph
  • /cast [target=focus] Polymorph

If you find that you do not have much room on your actionbars, you can use a focus macro. This is much simpler to use than the arena123 macro. Put an enemy on focus and this macro will cast Polymorph Icon Polymorph on that player while you are still focused on your target.

6.3. Counterspell Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Counterspell
  • /cast [target=focus] Counterspell

This macro will use Counterspell Icon Counterspell on whichever enemy you have on focus. Because you will be primarily using Counterspell Icon Counterspell on the enemy healer, you should only need this focus macro.

6.4. Ice Block Macro

  • #showtooltip Ice Block
  • /cast !Ice Block

This makes it so when you use Ice Block Icon Ice Block it will not cancel it if you click it a second time.

7. Gear for Fire Mages

With regards to gear, the biggest change in Legion is that there is no more PvP gear. Your strength in PvP will be determined based on the average item level of your gear (as displayed on your character sheet). For example, the base item level at level 110 is 800, so your stats in PvP will be adjusted accordingly. For every 10 item levels you gain, your stats are increased by 1%.

The implication is that it does not matter where your gear comes from, and all that matters is its item level. Gear from quests or PvE content is just as good as gear you get as a reward from PvP (which, in fact, will be very similar to PvE gear; there are no more PvP stats on gear).

Practically, you will simply look to collect gear with the highest item levels possible, and the stat distribution on the gear will not matter.

8. Artifact Traits for Fire Mages

Below, we will explain what the recommended order for artifact traits is, if you wish to maximise your PvP potential. It is quite possible that your artifact path (at the time of reading this guide) differs from our suggestions. If this is the case, do not worry, and use the information below to help you understand your traits and guide your future choices.

If you have suddenly decided that you want to turn to PvP, the best thing to do in your artifact progression is continue to your closest Golden trait, and then follow the recommendations below. Picking up the most useful traits ( Icon Cauterizing Blink,  Icon Pyroclasmic Paranoia,  Icon Fire at Will,  Icon Big Mouth, or  Icon Great Balls of Fire) along the way is a great way to boost your potential.

8.1. First Golden Trait

The first Golden trait you want to reach is  Icon Pyretic Incantation.

  1. Take  Icon Wings of Flame.
  2. Take  Icon Cauterizing Blink.
  3. Take  Icon Pyroclasmic Paranoia.
  4. Take  Icon Fire at Will.
  5. Take  Icon Pyretic Incantation.

8.2. Second Golden Trait

The second Golden trait to go for is  Icon Phoenix Reborn.

  1. Backtrack and take  Icon Great Balls of Fire.
  2. Take  Icon Big Mouth.
  3. Take  Icon Everburning Consumption.
  4. Take  Icon Phoenix Reborn.

8.3. Remaining Traits

After this, you should head for your last Golden trait,  Icon Aftershocks, picking up any remaining traits after that. There is no particular order that we recommend here.

9. Relics for Fire Mages

Relics are disabled in PvP, so they are not a concern to you.

10. ChangeLog

  • 29 May 2018: Added an Arena Compositions section.
  • 22 Mar. 2018: Made several updates to the guide and its structure.
    • Added sections for Macros, Strengths, and Weaknesses.
    • Moved Gear, Artifact Traits, and Relics sections to the end, since they are not that important.
    • Updated recommended Tier 3 and 6 honor talents.
  • 24 Jan. 2018: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.5.
  • 05 Dec. 2017: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.2. Updated "About The Author".
  • 15 Sep. 2017: No major changes were made for patch 7.3.
    • Removed Artifact Trait descriptions.
  • 27 Jul. 2017: Updated description for the talent "Shimmer".
  • 01 Jul. 2017: Checked and confirmed that no updates are needed for Patch 7.2.5.
  • 09 Apr. 2017: Checked and confirmed that no updates are needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 28 Feb. 2017: Various updates.
    • Changed recommended regular talents for tier 60, 75, 90.
    • Added 2 new defensive abilities Fire Mages recently received.
    • Updated burst rotation.
  • 03 Nov. 2016: Changed the recommended tier 6 talent choice to Living Bomb.
  • 19 Sep. 2016: Updated the burst damage rotation to fix an error.
  • 08 Sep. 2016: Guide added.
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