Frost Mage Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Nov 20, 2020 at 23:00 by Kuni 60 comments
General Information

Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Frost Mage. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.

1.

Introduction: Prerequisites

This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:

  • Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
  • Mage Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Mages gain by joining each Covenant;
  • How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
  • General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
  • Mage Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Mages.
2.

Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits

Unlike most specs, Frost Mage's Covenant choice is determined if you have any desire to play the other two specs. Frost is somewhat behind the other two specs for single target damage. Both Arcane and Fire can utilize Night Fae to great success in all scenarios, where for Frost, Night Fae is a relatively poor single target choice, and a great AoE choice.

Focus Covenant Soulbind Advised Tree
Single target, Frost oriented Venthyr Nadjia the Mistblade Frost Mage Venthyr single target tree
Single target, multi-spec oriented Night Fae Korayn Frost Mage Night Fae single target tree
AoE Night Fae Korayn Frost Mage Night Fae AoE tree
2.1.

Best Conduits for Frost Mage

In the list below, you will find the best Conduits of each type. Please see the Conduits section of this page for more information.

  • Best Potency Conduits: Icy Propulsion Icon Icy Propulsion by a wide margin, in all scenarios. Ice Bite Icon Ice Bite is a distant second, but it is useful in all content.
  • Best Finesse Conduits: Grounding Surge Icon Grounding Surge can be particularly powerful as it lowers Counterspell Icon Counterspell's cooldown to 18 seconds at max rank, which is nearly on par with most melee interrupts, but of course relies on your interrupt being useful. Flow of Time Icon Flow of Time is also a nice bonus, and by increasing your mobility it indirectly increases your DPS. Other than that, anything that seems useful to you is a great choice here.
  • Best Endurance Conduits: Diverted Energy Icon Diverted Energy is powerful, but it requires you to have taken damage already, and to cast Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier in the middle of some damage pulses rather than the beginning.
3.

Frost Mage Covenant Choice

Venthyr is Frost's absolute best pick for single-target sustained damage. The issue comes in that Mirrors of Torment Icon Mirrors of Torment is pure single target damage, procs Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze which is also single target damage, and needs the target to survive at least 12 seconds to get the full benefit of the spell. This does not lend itself to being a great pick any time you have short lived targets, such as Torghast, lower M+ keys, or even casual outdoor content.

Night Fae on the other hand, is functionally the opposite. Shifting Power Icon Shifting Power is all but useless for single target damage, reduces cooldowns on a spec that does not have amazing cooldowns, and is limited by an 18-yard range for the damage component. However, it is absolutely fantastic in AoE, and the cooldown reduction is equally fantastic for both Fire and Arcane. This means that if you are willing to take a ~5% single target loss, your covenant pick will allow you to multi-spec without too much issue.

Necrolord is an odd pick. If not for Icy Propulsion Icon Icy Propulsion, Deathborne Icon Deathborne might actually be even better than it is, as it would line up with Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins consistently. That said, it is a very good three target ability, narrowly beating out the other Covenants at that point, however rare that scenario may be. This is increased further by Emeni, who grants primary stat to you and allies nearby when you activate Deathborne.

Kyrian is a solid third place in all scenarios. Radiant Spark Icon Radiant Spark is a rather boring ability that functionally wants you to buff a Flurry Icon Flurry and Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance combo with it. Kyrian Soulbinds, while incredibly powerful for other classes, do not beat out the other Covenant choices for Frost.

4.

Frost Mage Soulbinds

Almost all Frost Soulbinds take the obvious path of double Potency Conduits in their optimal routes. There are two exceptions to this.

The first is Nadjia the Mistblade, which for the purposes of pure single-target damage, instead takes the Dauntless Duelist Icon Dauntless Duelist trait. This is unlocked at Renown 30, where a Potency Conduit is unlocked on a different path at Renown 25. Between 25 and 30 you should instead take the Potency Conduit, swapping when you unlock Dauntless Duelist.

The second is Kleia. In much the same as Nadjia above, her final row, unlocking at Renown 34, will have you swap away from the Potency Conduit on the line prior. Instead, you then take Pointed Courage Icon Pointed Courage, if your raid can keep you at 5 stacks.

4.1.

Venthyr

Nadjia the Mistblade is the best at all Renown levels and all activity types. Remember to swap over to Dauntless Duelist Icon Dauntless Duelist at Renown 30.

4.2.

Night Fae

This is the only Covenant that has a bit of back and forth on what is the best depending on Renown level and chosen activity. Dreamweaver is generally best until you unlock Korayn. This means that you are going to be running Dreamweaver in most early-expansion scenarios. Korayn's first trait is incredibly powerful, working as a reverse execute, and almost on par with being another Potency Conduit in power. It is worth noting that Dreamweaver's first trait is a form of cheat death, which could be invaluable during progression and potentially worth the DPS loss compared to Korayn.

4.3.

Necrolord

Emeni and Bonesmith Heirmir are both fairly equal in terms of throughput. Emeni just slightly edges out Heirmir in sims, but Heirmir's consistent 3% Intellect may prove more useful in M+ due to the consistent bonus rather than 3 minute cooldown. Plague Deviser Marileth's primary bonus is dependent on both Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft being cast, and being cast near a certain type of corpse. Since this is largely out of your control, and many of the bonuses are useless to a Mage, he is not a great pick.

4.4.

Kyrian

Pelagos is the best option out of the Kyrian Soulbinds at the beginning. Early expansion he gains the second Potency Conduit the quickest. However, Kleia beats his throughput at the end of her tree, if you can keep a combined 5 allies and enemies nearby for the 5% Critical Strike off of a fully stacked Pointed Courage Icon Pointed Courage.

5.

Frost Mage Conduits

This section explains potential uses for the various Conduits. For detailed explanations on what all of the Mage Conduits do, check out our Mage Conduits Page below.

5.1.

Potency

Icy Propulsion Icon Icy Propulsion is the best option in all cases, for all Soulbinds. The cooldown reduction during Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins, combined with Thermal Void Icon Thermal Void's extension of Icy Veins, means you can get a pretty hefty cooldown reduction out of it. This is increased significantly when in an AoE scenario, as the cooldown reduction is applied on a per-target basis.

Ice Bite Icon Ice Bite is the usual for your second Potency Conduit. Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance damage is always good, and useful in both single target and cleave.

Unrelenting Cold Icon Unrelenting Cold has the potential to be good on AoE, but generally sustained AoE isn't a thing that people build for. It does beat out Ice Bite Icon Ice Bite on 3 or higher target counts, however, and may potentially be useful on Fortified M+ weeks.

Shivering Core Icon Shivering Core is not worth using. AoE scenarios are covered by Unrelenting Cold Icon Unrelenting Cold, and Icy Propulsion Icon Icy Propulsion is too powerful to drop.

The four Covenant-specific Potency Conduits are generally not worth using. None of them are powerful enough to even consider, unless you end up in a strangely uneven Conduit level scenario.

5.2.

Finesse

None of these are DPS-related. That said, both Flow of Time Icon Flow of Time and Grounding Surge Icon Grounding Surge are situationally very powerful. Winter's Protection Icon Winter's Protection could also be useful if immunities turn out to be a large part of most strategies.

5.3.

Endurance

Like Finesse, these are not DPS-related. Most players can pick which one they like the best.

Diverted Energy Icon Diverted Energy is very strong, as it would heal you for up to 13.2% of your maximum health if you were hurt before casting Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier.

Cryo-Freeze Icon Cryo-Freeze is powerful, although since the goal is to not sit inside Ice Block Icon Ice Block for an extended period of time, this may not be the ridiculously powerful heal it seems to be.

Tempest Barrier Icon Tempest Barrier is likely the weakest of the three, as it costs your Blink Icon Blink cooldown for an incredibly minor barrier, for a short duration.

6.

Changelog

  • 20 Nov. 2020: Page added.
Show more
Show less