Frost Mage DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Dragonflight 10.0.7
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Frost 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 — Dragonflight 10.0.7.
If you were looking for WotLK Classic content, please refer to our WotLK Classic Frost Mage rotation.
Single Target Ability Priority List for Frost Mage
At its most basic, the premise of Frost Mage is to spam Frostbolt until you gain a proc. Fingers of Frost allows you to cast Ice Lance and gain the benefits of the frozen state. Brain Freeze resets the cooldown of Flurry and Flurry wants you to use a cast time spell, like Frostbolt, going into the Flurry, and then follow up with 2 Ice Lances to consume the 2 remaining Winter's Chill charges.
This Frostbolt > Flurry > Ice Lance > Ice Lance combo is the heart of the spec, and if you have that committed to memory, then the rest is simple. Anything beyond it is simply cooldown and movement management. The priority lists below will showcase where exactly they are to be used optimally, but as long as they are being used at all, your damage should not suffer too severely.
PvP plays slightly differently, favoring burst windows rather than the sustained DPS of PvE. More information about PvP can be found in our PvP guide found here:
This is a priority system, not a rotation. This means things higher up have priority over things lower on the list, rather than cast them in this order. You would go down the list until you hit the first true thing, cast that spell, then go back to the top and start again. This of course assumes raw single target with no mechanics. Please do not go throwing Icy Veins into an immunity phase.
|Active Talents||Passive Talents|
|Summon Water Elemental||Temporal Warp|
|Ray of Frost|
|Rune of Power|
- Cast Icy Veins.
- Cast Flurry have just cast Frostbolt, or another spell that will benefit from Winter's Chill.
- Cast Blizzard if there are 7 or more targets that will get hit by it.
- Cast Frozen Orb.
- Cast Ice Lance whenever there are charges of Winter's Chill on the target that is not otherwise prioritized.
- Cast Ice Lance if you have Fingers of Frost.
- Cast Frostbolt.
Less Ice Lance Rotation
Using the pure single target build with Frozen Touch and Deep Shatter, there is a variant of the rotation that casts fewer Ice Lances than usual. For the most part, this can be simplified into "Shatter as many Icicles as possible." This is achieved by ignoring Fingers of Frost, and only casting one Ice Lance into Winter's Chill, rather than two.
This gets a little bit more complicated as it depends on Brain Freeze procs. If you proc Brain Freeze on the initial Frostbolt, you continue to cast two Ice Lances into the Winter's Chill. If you do not proc it, you cast one into a Frostbolt to consume the second stack. After that, you carry on as usual. Remember that the second charge Frostbolt does not mean you can follow that Frostbolt with Flurry. You do not want to munch Winter's Chill charges, so you want to cast another Frostbolt before the next Flurry.
A note on Shifting Power in this specific variant is that you only cast it when both Rune of Power and Icy Veins are down or if Icy Veins has less than 20 seconds left on its cooldown. This is unlike the normal rotation, where you are simply looking for Rune of Power not to be active. Rune of Power should also be held if Icy Veins is within 20 seconds of coming off of cooldown for use after the automatic one expires rather than right away.
All in all, this is about a 4% gain. However, the fights you can do it on are minimal, functionally being anything that is purely single target.
Multiple Target Priority for Frost Mage
The AoE priority system should kick in when you are fighting 3 or more mobs, dropping to the above rotations once you fall below.
- Icy Veins
- Cast Frozen Orb
- Cast Blizzard
- Cast Comet Storm, if talented.
- Cast Flurry if available.
- Cast Ice Lance if you have Fingers of Frost available.
- Cast Arcane Explosion if you are above 10% Mana, or 30% if you need to Spellsteal anything in the pull.
- Cast Frostbolt.
For a Mythic+ specific look at how to effectively AoE with a proper AoE build, see the M+ page:
Core Concepts for Frost Mage
Frost Mage is an extremely straightforward specialization, however, it offers enough choice and flexibility that understanding the fundamental concepts of the spec is paramount to success. 4 major concepts form the central core of optimizing for success:
- always be casting;
- movement management;
- proc management;
- maximizing cleave.
Managing movement is a fundamental skill shared by all the caster classes in World of Warcraft and the Mage class lends itself beautifully to dealing with high movement. Learning to fully maximize efficiency concerning movement is extremely important for all the Mage specializations.
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 Frost Mage. Ice Floes charges set an important balance; it is important to refrain from overusing these and leaving yourself with nothing when it matters, but you also want to avoid letting Ice Floes sit at 3 charges when you are moving. Try and use Blink for urgent movement — when you need to travel from one place to another as quickly as possible. Ice Barrier is a good choice when you only need to take a few steps, as it only costs a single global cooldown. For phases with predictable high movement, you should treat Ice Floes as a DPS cooldown and plan your charge usage accordingly. If you are playing with Shimmer talented, you should be using this as a pseudo Ice Floes as it does not interrupt your cast when used. Frost is an especially powerful specialization concerning movement, as you have a variety of spells that are instant cast. You can save charges of Fingers of Frost for predictable movement and use these globals to cover the entire distance travelled. Finally, 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.
Alter Time is likewise useful in terms of movement. Casting it just after getting a raid mechanic you have to deal with by moving out of the raid will make your return instantaneous. In terms of DPS throughput, using Alter Time as a movement ability is always better than a heal, unless your healers are overwhelmed and you will likely die without it.
Use Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze as they come: Fingers of Frost, through straight Ice Lance casts, and Brain Freeze, through the primary Frostbolt > Flurry > Ice Lance > Ice Lance combo. Now, there are situations in which you have mentally committed yourself to going into your Frostbolt > Flurry > Ice Lance > Ice Lance, but you proc Fingers of Frost on that Frostbolt. That is unfortunate, but the Flurry is worth more overall. There is a small upside in most builds, though. Wintertide increases the damage of the Ice Lance cast into a "double frozen" scenario like this by 20%. While it is not optimal, it lessens the impact.
For further information on how and why the Frostbolt > Flurry > Ice Lance > Ice Lance combo works, see this section on the FAQ page.
There is never a situation in which you will fire two Flurrys back to back. Likewise, there is never a situation in which you go Frostbolt > Flurry > Ice Lance > Flurry > Ice Lance. You always have a cast time spell — Frostbolt, Ebonbolt, or Glacial Spike — preceding Flurry, regardless of talent setup.
Ultimately, Frost Mage is primarily about abusing your casts in a way that is suitable to the situation. There are an enormous amount of possibilities, synergies, and overlaps that will provide an advantageous result. It is important, therefore, that you as a player think carefully about how you can use your spells in a way that makes sense. Try to avoid using your major abilities haphazardly or without thinking, as this will invariably result in you losing a lot of damage. When your Frozen Orb is about to come off cooldown, for example, start thinking about the ways you are going to cleave with it or if the boss is going to be moved. Check your boss timers to see how you can line it up for a phase with increased damage dealt or AoE. A lot of this might seem like common sense, but you would be surprised how uncommon that is!
Opening Sequence for Frost Mage
We advise you to use the following opening sequence (or opener).
- Pre-cast Frostbolt at 2 seconds on the countdown.
- Cast Flurry to start the cooldown and to Shatter the prior Frostbolt.
- Activate Icy Veins.
- Cast Frozen Orb.
- Follow your normal priority.
Rune of Power and Incanter's Flow
Rune of Power
Rune of Power is incredibly strong. On-demand 40% damage boost for 12 seconds, which can be dropped every 45 seconds and will additionally automatically drop when you cast Icy Veins is very hard to match. This talent will also allow you to take advantage of vulnerability phases better, something Frost has traditionally struggled with.
It is never advisable to try and game Incanter's Flow. You lose too many potential procs throughout a fight, and it only takes one or two losses to make the whole endeavour a waste.
- 20 Mar. 2023: Added notes about the Less Ice Lance rotation set.
- 24 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
- 11 Dec. 2022: Updated Blizzard target values with/without Ice Caller.
- 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
- 24 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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