Frost Mage DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Dragonflight 10.2.7

Last updated on May 07, 2024 at 11:20 by Kuni 113 comments
General Information

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 10.2.7.

If you were looking for WotLK Classic content, please refer to our WotLK Classic Frost Mage rotation.

1.

Single Target Ability Priority List for Frost Mage

1.1.

The Basics

At its most basic, the premise of Frost Mage is to spam Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt until you gain a proc. Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost allows you to cast Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance and gain the benefits of the frozen state. Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze resets the cooldown of Flurry Icon 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 Icon Winter's Chill charges.

This Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt > Flurry Icon Flurry > Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance > Ice Lance Icon 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.

Adding talents to the mix, you gain a few cooldowns and the requirement to keep track of your Mastery: Icicles Icon Mastery: Icicles. All of the spells added by talents still want to take advantage of the idea of the combo above but are used slightly differently each. Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm should follow a Flurry Icon Flurry so that it lands as Winter's Chill is still on the target, allowing all comets to Shatter Icon Shatter. Likewise, Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost wants to be cast into the final charge of Winter's Chill to benefit the entire channel. Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike wants to Shatter as many casts as possible, either replacing the Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt that precedes the Flurry in the combo or one of the spells that would take the place of the following Ice Lance Icon Ice Lances.

On single target, Shifting Power Icon Shifting Power should simply be used whenever all of your talented cooldowns are on cooldown, and you have no procs to go.

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:

1.2.

The Rotation

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 Icon Icy Veins into an immunity phase.

Active Talents Passive Talents
Shifting Power Icon Shifting Power Temporal Warp Icon Temporal Warp
Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm Ice Caller Icon Ice Caller
Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike Coldest Snap Icon Coldest Snap
Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost
Ice Nova Icon Ice Nova
  1. Cast Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins.
  2. Cast Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance whenever there are charges of Winter's Chill Icon Winter's Chill on the target that is not otherwise prioritized.
  3. Cast Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance if you have Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost.
  4. Cast Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt.

This boils down to Shatter Icon Shatter your big cooldowns like Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost and Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm, and play around your Mastery: Icicles Icon Mastery: Icicles and Flurry Icon Flurry to land Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike inside Winter's Chill. This means that you can have situations where you are at 3 Icicles, throwing Flurry > Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance > Glacial Spike. Likewise Glacial Spike > Flurry > Ice Lance > Ice Lance is valid, as is Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt > Flurry > Glacial Spike > Ice Lance. Just do what you can to hit 5 Icicles, and fire Glacial Spike into Winter's Chill.

1.3.

Notes on Two Target with T31

With the addition of Mage Frost 10.2 Class Set 2pc Icon Mage Frost 10.2 Class Set 2pc, we end up in a strange situation on two unfreezable targets where the most benefit you can get is by casting Flurry Icon Flurry at one target, swapping targets to hit Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike into the second charge of Flurry, so both land in a "frozen" target and explode, dealing damage to each other. On freezable targets you can just abuse Ice Nova Icon Ice Nova and Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova to force both targets to be frozen, so this situation is going to be specifically 2 target unfreezable mobs, which is a somewhat rare encounter.

Should this situation arise, save all your Flurry Icon Flurry charges for the Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike double target.

It should be noted that this only really works on 2 target scenarios, because multiple grouped mobs means that it is unlikely you will manage to cleave both targets with Winter's Chill active. So, while this scenario is fairly rare, it should be kept in mind, as it is a relatively high DPS gain to do it.

2.

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.

For the most part, if you have Ice Caller Icon Ice Caller talented, your AoE consists of Frozen Orb Icon Frozen Orb and Blizzard Icon Blizzard to lower the cooldown. That is the primary driver. Everything else is just cooldown management, such as Ice Nova Icon Ice Nova, and Shifting Power Icon Shifting Power.

If you do not have Ice Caller Icon Ice Caller talented, do not AoE until 7 targets. Also, consider speccing Ice Caller next time you do that fight.

The very rare time where a raid will want Coldest Snap Icon Coldest Snap, you should simply cast Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold after a Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm, and then recasting Frozen Orb Icon Frozen Orb and Comet Storm right afterward.

  1. Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins
  2. Cast Frozen Orb Icon Frozen Orb
  3. Cast Blizzard Icon Blizzard
  4. Cast Flurry Icon Flurry if available.
  5. Cast Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance if you have Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost available.
  6. Cast Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion if there are 7 or more targets, and you are above 30% Mana.
  7. Cast Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt.

For a Mythic+ specific look at how to effectively AoE with a proper AoE build, see the M+ page:

3.

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:

  1. always be casting;
  2. movement management;
  3. proc management;
  4. maximizing cleave.
3.1.

Movement Management

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 Icon 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 Icon Blink for urgent movement — when you need to travel from one place to another as quickly as possible. Ice Barrier Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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.

3.2.

Proc Management

Use Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost and Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze as they come: Fingers of Frost, through straight Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance casts, and Brain Freeze, through the primary Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt > Flurry Icon 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 Icon 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.

When talented into Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike, Flurry Icon Flurry timing becomes a bit of a game to see if you can land Glacial Spike somewhere within the combo. If, for instance, you finished casting some Ice Lance Icon Ice Lances and are at 4 Icicles, you should instead just Flurry into Glacial Spike, skipping the initial spell in the combo.

Additionally, Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm and Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost should both be held for Flurry Icon Flurry. In the case of Comet Storm, you want to make sure you have enough time for the comets to finish falling within the Winter's Chill window. You could space this out by Flurry, Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance, Comet Storm, Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt, then Ice Lance. The Frostbolt should give you the extra time that you otherwise would not have, and the second Ice Lance will impact before Frostbolt unless you are extremely close to the target.

Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost, on the other hand, wants to be cast into the second charge of Winter's Chill at most relevant gear levels so as to not waste there being two charges on the target.

Some timing notes:

  • 27% Haste lets you Flurry Icon Flurry into Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm or Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance into Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost
  • 48% Haste lets you Flurry Icon Flurry into Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike into Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost
  • 52% Haste lets you Flurry Icon Flurry into Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance into Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm into Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost
  • 173% Haste lets you Flurry Icon Flurry into Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm into Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike into Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost

These values are slightly off due to the nature of travel time of Flurry Icon Flurry against debuff duration, so this is an absolute worst-case scenario for each. In practice, the values should be slightly lower, so consider these points that you will absolutely make the timer.

Obviously, the last one is a bit of an absurdity, but there are commonly mechanics that grant a Haste buff you could stack with your own buffs.

3.3.

Maximizing Cleave

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 Icon 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!

3.4.

Opening Sequence for Frost Mage

We advise you to use the following opening sequence (or opener).

  1. Pre-cast Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt at 2 seconds on the countdown.
  2. Cast Flurry Icon Flurry to start the cooldown and to Shatter Icon Shatter the prior Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt.
  3. Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt should land, and the boss encounter should have begun at this point.
  4. Activate Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins and Time Warp Icon Time Warp if popping on pull.
  5. Cast Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm.
  6. Cast Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance to consume the first stack of Winter's Chill.
  7. Cast Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost.
  8. Cast Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance to use one of your two Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost from Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost.
  9. Cast Flurry Icon Flurry.
  10. Cast Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike.
  11. Cast Frozen Orb Icon Frozen Orb.
  12. Cast Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance to consume the second Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost from Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost before Frozen Orb Icon Frozen Orb impacts and grants the first proc from it.
  13. Follow your normal priority.

There is the argument to do this in the reverse order, with Frozen Orb Icon Frozen Orb first, and then Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost after Orb expires. They are both functionally identical in long-term DPS. However, Ray of Frost first has the benefit of front-loading your burst, which is usually more beneficial in practical encounters.

4.

Changelog

  • 07 May 2024: Reviewed for 10.2.7.
  • 22 Apr. 2024: Reviewed for Season 4.
  • 19 Mar. 2024: Reviewed for Patch 10.2.6.
  • 15 Jan. 2024: Updated for Patch 10.2.5.
  • 14 Jan. 2024: Glacial Spike is cast without Flurry regardless of Icy Veins status now.
  • 12 Dec. 2023: Minor clarification on Ray of Frost/Frozen Orb.
  • 12 Nov. 2023: Removed an outdated paragraph in section 3.2 and replaced it with a more in-depth dive on proc usage since the 10.1.5 changes.
  • 06 Nov. 2023: Added information about T31's impact on our 2 target DPS.
  • 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7
  • 11 Aug. 2023: Shifting Power should be used in Icy Veins, once RoF/CmS/FO are on cooldown.
  • 01 Aug. 2023: Added missing rotational piece for casting Glacial Spike during Icy Veins without Flurry proc.
  • 10 Jul. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.1.5's rotational changes. Potentially further changes as theorycraft evolves over the next couple of months.
  • 01 May 2023: Added toggles for the AoE rotation set. Less Lance is down to 1.7% lead.
  • 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.
Show more
Show less