Frost Mage DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1

Last updated on Oct 12, 2020 at 17:24 by Kuni 7 comments
General Information

On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Frost Mage in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic DPS Mage talents.

1.

Talent Choices for Frost Mage

Level Choices
15 Bone Chilling Bone Chilling Lonely Winter Lonely Winter Ice Nova Ice Nova
25 Glacial Insulation Glacial Insulation Shimmer Shimmer Ice Floes Ice Floes
30 Incanter's Flow Incanter's Flow Focus Magic ? Focus Magic Rune of Power Rune of Power
35 Frozen Touch Frozen Touch Chain Reaction Chain Reaction Ebonbolt Ebonbolt
40 Frigid Winds ? Frigid Winds Ice Ward ? Ice Ward Ring of Frost ? Ring of Frost
45 Freezing Rain Freezing Rain Splitting Ice Splitting Ice Comet Storm Comet Storm
50 Thermal Void Thermal Void Ray of Frost Ray of Frost Glacial Spike Glacial Spike

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2.

Talent Builds for Frost Mage

Frost does not have optional talents in the DPS rows outside of the Level 30 tier. Every scenario runs the same talents due to how strong Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance ends up being.

If you have another Frost Mage in your group, it is optimal to trade Focus Magic Icon Focus Magic between each other. Other than that, these talent choices are the only viable options due to imbalances in tuning.

2.1.

Second Focus Magic Mage in Group:

2.2.

Every Other Scenario:

2.3.

Myhic+ Build

For Mythic+ build options, please refer to our Mythic+ page.

3.

Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Frost Mage

Bone Chilling Bone Chilling Lonely Winter Lonely Winter Ice Nova Ice Nova
  • Bone Chilling Icon Bone Chilling causes all chill effects to stack a buff on you, increasing all spell damage dealt by 0.5% per stack for 8 seconds, stacking up to 10 times. Functionally it is a flat 5% boost to all spells.
  • Lonely Winter Icon Lonely Winter removes your ability to cast Summon Water Elemental Icon Summon Water Elemental, but your basic single target spells (Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt, Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance, and Flurry Icon Flurry) are empowered to deal 25% increased damage.
  • Ice Nova Icon Ice Nova is a short AoE burst cooldown, dealing reduced damage to secondary targets. Also freezes everything hit for 2 seconds.

As will be a recurring theme on this page, Lonely Winter Icon Lonely Winter is the best option because it buffs Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance the most. Ice Nova Icon Ice Nova does not contribute to the generation of procs, and Bone Chilling Icon Bone Chilling does not keep up with the power gain from all the stacked Ice Lance percentage increases.

4.

Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents for Frost Mage

Glacial Insulation Glacial Insulation Shimmer Shimmer Ice Floes Ice Floes
  • Glacial Insulation Icon Glacial Insulation causes Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier to increase armour by 200%. Ice Block Icon Ice Block also applies Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier to you when it fades.
  • Shimmer Icon Shimmer replaces your Blink Icon Blink ability. It functions exactly the same as Blink Icon Blink, except it is off the Global Cooldown, is a 25-second cooldown instead of 15, does not interrupt spellcasting, and it does not break stuns. This spell has 2 charges.
  • Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes has 3 charges and each charge allows a spell to be cast while moving.

Glacial Insulation Icon Glacial Insulation in theory fits on this row by allowing you to take more damage before moving, but this does not pan out in practice. If there were ever a mechanic that dealt physical damage, was unavoidable, and extra armour value would be the difference between life and death, then this talent might see usage. Being that almost all unavoidable damage is magical in nature, this is an incredibly unlikely event and thus it is a dead talent.

The choice here is between Shimmer Icon Shimmer and Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes. Both functionally provide one spell's worth of movement every 20ish seconds; the difference being do you need to move 20 yards, or do you need to move a couple of steps? The choice is ultimately up to the player's comfort with each talent.

Shimmer Icon Shimmer simply lets you Blink Icon Blink without interrupting a cast, or incurring a Global Cooldown. This is incredibly powerful, but you trade a longer cooldown and the ability to break stuns and roots for this power. It is also worth noting that Shimmer has 2 charges, as opposed to Blink's single charge, but trades a significantly longer cooldown for this.

Ice Floes Icon Ice Floes is a great tool to manage movement in steps that are smaller than 20 yards.

5.

Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents for Frost Mage

Incanter's Flow Incanter's Flow Focus Magic ? Focus Magic Rune of Power Rune of Power
  • Incanter's Flow Icon Incanter's Flow increases your damage between 4% and 20%, cycling every 10 seconds.
  • Focus Magic Icon Focus Magic increases the target's spell Critical Strike by 5%, and whenever they Critically Strike, you gain 5% Critical Strike and 1% Intellect for 10 seconds. The Intellect portion stacks 8 times if refreshed within the 10-second duration, to a maximum of 8%.
  • Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power places a small zone on the ground, which increases the damage you do by 40% for 15 seconds. This ability has a 45-second cooldown. In addition, it will place a Rune of Power at your feet when you activate Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins.

Incanter's Flow Icon Incanter's Flow is a great talent if you wish to not worry about an extra button, or have no one in range to cast Focus Magic Icon Focus Magic on. It is sadly, however, the worst talent on the line.

Focus Magic Icon Focus Magic is a great option if you can place it on a class that can reliably proc it. If you will not maintain the 8% Intellect buff, this talent loses most of its value. The highest DPS option is to trade it with another Frost Mage, granting both of you 10% Critical Strike and 8% Intellect.

Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power is the go-to talent if you do not have a partner to trade Focus Magic Icon Focus Magic with. Keep in mind that its radius is significantly larger than the rune graphic on the ground. It should simply be used on cooldown, as the raw uptime of the 40% buff will beat syncing it to anything.

6.

Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents for Frost Mage

Frozen Touch Frozen Touch Chain Reaction Chain Reaction Ebonbolt Ebonbolt

Frozen Touch Icon Frozen Touch is a multiplicative increase to the proc rates on Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt, not additive. That is to say, Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost becomes 18% from 15%, not 35%. Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze similarly goes to 36% from 30%, rather than 50%.

Chain Reaction Icon Chain Reaction is the best option on the line, due to the bonus stacking multiplicatively with both Lonely Winter Icon Lonely Winter and Splitting Ice Icon Splitting Ice's Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance damage bonuses. Given that Winter's Chill Icon Winter's Chill now allows for 2 Ice Lances at the end, the stacks are easy to maintain or re-stack if they've fallen off.

Ebonbolt Icon Ebonbolt works either as a self-contained Shatter Icon Shatter combo talent. It cleaves when talented for Splitting Ice Icon Splitting Ice.

7.

Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents for Frost Mage

Frigid Winds ? Frigid Winds Ice Ward ? Ice Ward Ring of Frost ? Ring of Frost
  • Frigid Winds Icon Frigid Winds causes all your chilling effects to reduce the target's movement speed by an additional 10%.
  • Ice Ward Icon Ice Ward gives Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova 2 charges.
  • Ring of Frost Icon Ring of Frost places a ring that can freeze up to 10 targets for 10 seconds at the targeted location, broken by damage. When the freeze ends, the targets will be slowed by 65% for 4 seconds.

None of these talents have use for raiding in most situations. There are rare times where a well timed and placed Ring of Frost Icon Ring of Frost can be used as a pseudo-interrupt, much like a stun can be. Beyond that, Frigid Winds Icon Frigid Winds can be of use on Necrotic Mythic+ weeks, allowing your tanks to get away to drop stacks easier. With Frigid Winds, Frost commands the most powerful AoE slow in the game through Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold. Keep in mind some encounters or Mythic+ affixes will not want you to slow as much, such as Sanguine.

8.

Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Frost Mage

Freezing Rain Freezing Rain Splitting Ice Splitting Ice Comet Storm Comet Storm
  • Freezing Rain Icon Freezing Rain makes any Blizzard Icon Blizzard casts in the 12 seconds following a Frozen Orb Icon Frozen Orb cast instant, while increasing the damage of those instant Blizzards by 50%.
  • Splitting Ice Icon Splitting Ice causes Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance, Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike, Ebonbolt Icon Ebonbolt, and Mastery: Icicles Icon Mastery: Icicles to cleave a target within 8 yards of the center of the primary target's hitbox for 80% of the primary damage. This copied spell has its own Critical Strike rolls.
  • Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm drops 7 comets around the cast target after 1 second. Each has a 6 yard radius splash, dealing full damage to all enemies in range.

Freezing Rain Icon Freezing Rain is best utilized in heavy, consistent AoE situations.

Splitting Ice Icon Splitting Ice is incredibly strong in all situations, due to it being yet another source of a multiplicative Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance bonus. Keep in mind that Flurry Icon Flurry will only hit 1 target, so if the mobs are able to be rooted, Freeze Icon Freeze can be utilized to grant Shatter Icon Shatter to both primary and cleave targets outside of procs.

Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm has fallen out of use due to lack of Mastery scaling, although it retains a niche in scenarios you do not want cleave, such as any boss with a mind control or universal hostility mechanic. It produces some impressive AoE burst, but generally falls behind Splitting Ice Icon Splitting Ice in multi-target sustained damage. If you need to kill a large AoE pack quickly, it is possible to drop Comet Storm and then Freeze Icon Freeze everything as the comets impact. This should allow most of them to benefit from Shatter Icon Shatter, producing even higher burst.

9.

Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents for Frost Mage

Thermal Void Thermal Void Ray of Frost Ray of Frost Glacial Spike Glacial Spike
  • Thermal Void Icon Thermal Void extends your Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins by 10 seconds and an additional 1 second every time you cast a frozen Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance while it is active.
  • Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost is a 5 second channeled ability that ramps up in damage and slowing power by 10% every tick. Generates 2 Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost over the course of the channel.
  • Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike is an active ability that requires and consumes all 5 of your Mastery: Icicles Icon Mastery: Icicles to cast. It deals large amount of damage, plus all the damage from your stored Icicles. However, Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance no longer launches Icicles. Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike also freezes the target in place for 4 seconds. Will cleave if talented into Splitting Ice Icon Splitting Ice.

Thermal Void Icon Thermal Void is the option of choice due to the raw amount of Ice Lance Icon Ice Lances that Frost is casting.

Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost is simply a button you press on cooldown with the sole condition of do not hit it while Frozen Orb Icon Frozen Orb is ticking, so the Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost it generates do not go to waste.

Glacial Spike Icon Glacial Spike is undertuned, and performs worse than not having a talent on this line. Avoid if possible.

10.

Frost Mage PvP Talents

If you opt into War Mode, you are given the ability to use the Honour Talents out in the world. Defensive talents will depend on how comfortable you are with your base kit and if you expect to get attacked by other players. Given PvP is outside the scope of this guide, only the offensive talents will be listed here. The PvP guide itself can be found here:

  • Chilled to the Bone Icon Chilled to the Bone does not proc upon breaking Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova and Freeze Icon Freeze with damage, only upon expiration or dispel. Avoid unless you have a habit of letting freezes expire without hitting them, and even then, that is leaving Shatter Icon Shatter openings empty.
  • Frostbite Icon Frostbite is a good general purpose contender. It allows you to Shatter Icon Shatter more often.
  • Deep Shatter Icon Deep Shatter is also a good general purpose contender, especially paired with Frostbite Icon Frostbite, simply through occasionally stronger Frostbolt Icon Frostbolts.
  • Concentrated Coolness Icon Concentrated Coolness is amazing and could be argued the only mandatory Honour Talent. Increasing Frozen Orb Icon Frozen Orb by 10% and allowing precise placement, this will destroy entire packs of mobs.
  • Burst of Cold Icon Burst of Cold can be situationally useful if you are playing close to mobs or prefer to pull large amounts of mobs. It turns Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold into a pretty deadly AoE burst.
  • Ice Form Icon Ice Form is a fairly short cooldown, useful if you find yourself never actually hitting Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins while out in the world due to wanting to "save" it for any reason. Has some good synergy with Deep Shatter Icon Deep Shatter, but requires you to have multiple freeze cooldowns lined up. This will also drop Rune of Power Icon Rune of Power if talented into it, making the lowered cooldown very useful.

There are some interesting Honour Talents, but since they are restricted to the open world and unusable in instances, they generally are not simulated. Thus, the above are simply the thoughts and feelings of the author.

11.

Changelog

  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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