Fire Mage PvP Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA 8.0.1)
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, PvP talents, 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.
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. Stat Priority for Fire Mages in PvP
The stat priority for Fire Mage in PvP is as follows:
- Critical Strike;
Intellect is the best stat in all situations. Mastery scales much better with additional targets than any other stat and that is the reason it is listed above the other secondaries. Versatility helps with increasing your overall damage output and reducing damage you take.
3. Azerite Traits for Fire Mages
Azerite traits are unlocked in you helm, shoulders and chest. With each Azerite level in your neck, you get closer to unlocking the center trait in your gear. These traits vary from increasing damage of certain abilities to helping increase your survivability. Depending on what traits you use, it can completely alter your playstyle and what talents you should be using.
3.1. Outer Ring
Below are the best Outer Ring traits.
There is not a single trait that you will want to stack. Instead, you want one of each of the traits from above. Firemind, Blaster Master, and Flames of Alacrity all give you an increase to a specific stat. All of these stats result in an increase to your overall damage output. Duplicative Incineration does not increase a stat, instead it gives your Fireballs a chance at launching a second one. Once again, this is great for your sustained damage output.
3.2. Middle Ring
Below are the best Middle Ring traits.
The middle and inner rings are important for additional damage. All of the traits mentioned above increase your overall damage. However, the primary two you should be getting are Gutripper and Heed My Call. Both of these will noticeable increase your damage.
3.3. Inner Ring
Below are the best Inner Ring traits.
All of these traits give you additional ways of surviving. These are all passive, but are crucial to have.
4. Gear Recommendations
4.1. General Guidelines
In general, Fire Mages want to get trinkets that line up well with Combustion. These trinkets can have a passive or on-use effect. The stat you want to be increasing is Intellect. The reason you want to increase Intellect is because it drastically increases your overall damage output.
Below, we list the items that have these traits.
4.2. Recommended Items
Dread Gladiator's Badge is strong for the versatility and the on-use Intellect effect. The 2-minute cooldown lines up well with Combustion, and should be used every time you want to use your burst rotation.
Dread Gladiator's Insignia has a good amount of Versatility on it and has a passive effect. This effect increases your Intellect. This increases your sustained damage.
4.3. Weapon Enchant
Enchant Weapon - Torrent of Elements is the best weapon enchants. The enchant provides a proc that gives you a strong boost to your spell damage. This increases your sustained and burst damage.
5. Talent Choices for Fire Mages
|15||✔ Firestarter||✔ Pyromaniac||✔ Searing Touch|
|30||✘ Blazing Soul||✔ Shimmer||✘ Blast Wave|
|45||✔ Incanter's Flow||✘ Mirror Image||✘ Rune of Power|
|60||✘ Flame On||✘ Alexstrasza's Fury||✔ Phoenix Flames|
|75||✘ Frenetic Speed||✘ Ice Ward||✔ Ring of Frost|
|90||✘ Flame Patch||✘ Conflagration||✔ Living Bomb|
|100||✘ Kindling||✘ Pyroclasm||✔ Meteor|
While the above table provides a generally accurate overview of the viability of talents, some finer points are discussed in the sections that follow, and we recommend you read those for a deeper understanding.
5.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents
You have multiple options in the first tier. If your team plans on swapping targets often, Firestarter is the best choice in this tier. This will help your team with initial damage on your new target.
If you want the most consistent damage, Pyromaniac is the best choice in this tier. This talent is just an overall increase to your sustained damage throughout an arena game. This is the go-to for most Fire Mages.
If your are playing with a class that has trouble killing a target at low health, like a Feral Druid, Searing Touch is the best choice in this tier. This helps your team get even more pressure when your target is low.
5.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents
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, for example, you can Shimmer while casting it and avoid losing line of sight. This talent replaces Blink.
5.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents
5.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents
Phoenix Flames is the best choice in this tier. This is a very strong talent for generating Heating Up and Hot Streak procs. However, it does deal damage to multiple enemies and has a chance to break crowd control like Polymorph, so be careful.
5.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents
Ring of Frost is the best choice in this tier. This is crucial for crowd control. If you get interrupted on Polymorph, you can still cast Ring of Frost. You can also do Dragon's Breath into Ring of Frost.
5.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents
Living Bomb 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.
5.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents
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 and then cast Meteor on the target.
6. PvP Talents for Fire Mages
The first PvP talent tier is will give you a choice between Gladiator's Medallion, Relentless, and Adaptation. Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is great for removing crowd control on you that your healer cannot dispel.
You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them has their uses, but some are better for certain strategies than others. The top three choices are the most useful, but can be replaced with other PvP talents depending on your team's goal.
Temporal Shield creates a shield around you for 6 seconds. Once it expires, you will instantly be healed for 100% of the damage you took while it was active. This is a great defensive tool and should be used when the enemy team is using their burst cooldowns.
Tinder causes your next Fireball to deal 30% increased damage with a 50% reduced cast time, if you have not cast a Fireball for 8 seconds. This is a good talent versus teams with a melee on it and you will only be able to cast at certain times. This helps with your sustained damage and with generating Heating Up procs.
Controlled Burn causes Mastery: Ignite to deal its full damage 100% faster, but it no longer spreads to nearby enemies unless Combustion is active. This is a very strong damage talent and an overall large increase to your sustained and burst damage.
Prismatic Cloak reduces magical damage you take by 50% for 2 seconds after you Blink or Shimmer. This talent is great against teams with magical spells that deal large amounts of damage. You can replace Controlled Burn with this if you are playing against a team with two spell casters on it.
Kleptomania makes Spellsteal have a 30-second cooldown, but steals all spells from the target. This is only useful against Restoration Druids. If you want to have the option to steal all of the Restoration Druids HoTs, you can replace Controlled Burn with Kleptomania.
7. Racial Bonuses for Fire Mages
Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.
The passive Orc racial bonus ( Hardiness) is great if you find yourself being stunned a lot and having a hard time against melee classes.
The Human racial bonus ( Every Man for Himself) is a great way to get out of stuns.
8. 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 into 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 from Heating Up procs.
Fire, when specced into Ring of Frost, has 3 different spell schools. Why is this important? If you are interrupted when casting Fireball (Fire school) you can start casting 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.
8.1. 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 to guarantee your opener without any interruptions.
Make sure to use Arcane Intellect on your teammates. It can be dispelled by abilities like Purge or Spellsteal, so be prepared to apply it often. Use Blazing Barrier when the gates open and refresh it often so you can absorb some of the incoming damage.
8.2. Offensive Rotation
There are a few things to keep in mind.
- We have Tinder for the fast-cast Fireballs. Keep this talent in mind, although it works passively.
- Use Meteor efficiently. This means making sure to use it when your teammates are prepared to burst with you, and not waste it when they are not.
- Rotate your critical strikes, Heating Up procs, and Hot Streak instant Pyroblast procs with your Fire Blast and Phoenix Flames.
- Use Phoenix Flames and Fire Blast with Fireballs to get Pyroblast procs.
8.2.1. 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 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 crowd controlling in the opener, do the following:
- Dragon's Breath into Polymorph for crowd control.
- Spellsteal any HoTs on your main target.
- You will start your burst rotation and then use Ring of Frost
- Use your burst rotation.
- After your burst, perform your do sustained damage rotation until your burst cooldowns are available.
8.2.2. Burst Damage
When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage.
- Start with a Hot Streak proc.
- Put Living Bomb on your main target
- Cast Meteor.
- Cast Combustion.
- Use Pyroblast.
- Use Phoenix Flames.
- Use Pyroblast.
- Use Phoenix Flames.
- Use Pyroblast.
- Use Phoenix Flames.
- Use Pyroblast.
- Use Fire Blast.
- Use Pyroblast.
- Use Fire Blast.
- Use Pyroblast.
Make sure to use Pyroblast when you have 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 proc on a different spell. Always assume your Pyroblast will be a critical strike while Combustion is active.
8.2.3. Sustained damage
Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available.
- Use Fireballs when you have the Tinder buff. This will make your next Fireball a much quicker cast and can generate a Heating Up proc.
- When you get a Heating Up proc, use Fire Blast or Phoenix Flames to get Hot Streak proc.
- Use Pyroblast.
- Use Polymorph on any DPS that are being disruptive to you or your teammates.
- Use Scorch to move around and get in a better position to cast those Polymorphs.
The overall goal is to always have consistent damage. When you get a Heating Up proc, you want to use either Fire Blast or Phoenix Flames (because they deal critical damage) to upgrade that Heating Up into a Hot Streak proc. There is a chance for Pyroblast to deal critical damage, which means you can again use Fire Blast or Phoenix Flames to generate another Hot Streak proc. This is the power of Fire Mage! Instant sustained damage that cannot be stopped.
8.3. Defensive Techniques
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.
Cauterize is a passive ability that gives Fire Mages a "second life", preventing you from dying on a 5-minute cooldown and instead 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 is a slightly weaker form of 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.
9. 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 and multiple schools of spells, Fire Mages have an aggressive and fast-paced playstyle.
9.1. 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 and use your burst rotation. If you get interrupted while casting 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 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
9.2. 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 using 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 shares a diminishing return with Sap and your 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 Pyroblasts or make sure you have 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 on the enemy healer. If an enemy DPS using their burst cooldowns, you can slow/root and 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
10. 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.
10.1. Polymorph 123 Macro
- #showtooltip Polymorph
- /cast [target=arena1] Polymorph
Using this macro will cast 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.
10.2. 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 on that player while you are still focused on your target.
10.3. Counterspell Focus Macro
- #showtooltip Counterspell
- /cast [target=focus] Counterspell
10.4. Ice Block Macro
- #showtooltip Ice Block
- /cast !Ice Block
This makes it so when you use Ice Block it will not cancel it if you click it a second time.
- 19 Nov. 2018: Added Gear Recommendations section.
- 08 Oct. 2018: Added talent table.
- 02 Oct. 2018: Revamped guide.
- Removed Artifact Traits, Relics, PvP Gear and War Mode sections.
- Added Azerite trait section.
- 27 Aug. 2018: Updated Air Drops section.
- 17 Aug. 2018: Updated guide for patch 8.0.1.
- Updated Introduction and spec overview.
- Added Stat priority.
- Updated tiers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 regular talents sections.
- Added PvP (War Mode) talents and gear sections for the new BfA system.
- Updated Racial Bonuses section.
- Updated Burst Damage and Sustained Damage sections.
- Updated Macros section.
- Removed Gear section.
- Updated Artifact Traits and Relics sections.
- 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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