Frost Mage PvP Rotation and Playstyle (Shadowlands / 9.1)

Last updated on Jul 04, 2021 at 14:24 by Pherix 10 comments

PvP requires you to perform various actions in the course of a duel, match, or battleground: interrupting/silencing enemies, damaging them, bursting them down, defending yourself, keeping yourself alive, etc. It is a game mode that fully utilizes your kit, especially spells that are rarely used in PvE. On this page, we go through all the spells you need to use in PvP as a Frost Mage, how you should use them, and we explain what your playstyle should be.

This page is part of our Frost Mage PvP Guide.

1.

Playstyle for Frost Mages

Frost Mages have two important roles in a 3v3 environment.

  • The first role that Frost Mages have is crowd control. They not only have strong kiting tools for getting away from enemies, but they have strong tools to also cast and get crowd control on enemy players. Polymorph Icon Polymorph, the major Frost Mage crowd control, can be used offensively (when trying to get a kill) or defensively (when trying to keep a teammate alive). You can utilize your Frost Nova Icon Frost Novas and other roots to maximize kiting potential during matches.
  • The second role a Frost Mage is to apply pressure. With relatively short major cooldowns, Frost Mages can apply a lot of pressure on a team in a short amount of time.

For more information about team compositions, see our Arena compositions page for Frost Mages.

1.1.

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 Icon Invisibility to guarantee your opener without any interruptions.

Be prepared to be the focus of many teams. This can be frustrating and make people shy away from Frost. That said, Frost Mages have a lot of utility to get away from enemy teams, so make sure to use this to your advantage. Make sure to use Arcane Intellect Icon Arcane Intellect on your teammates. It can be dispelled by abilities like Purge Icon Purge or Spellsteal Icon Spellsteal, so be prepared to apply it often.

It is also important to note that you can use Remove Curse Icon Remove Curse to remove spells like Hex Icon Hex or Agony Icon Agony.

1.2.

Crowd Control

This is where the Frost Mage has always shined in PvP. There is no other class/spec that can crowd control a team as well as a Frost Mage can, not to mention the large amount of utility at their disposal. Being able to rotate Polymorph Icon Polymorphs and your roots, Frost Mage does very well at controlling the enemy team and slowing their attacks.

At the beginning of a match, you can use Invisibility Icon Invisibility and open with a Polymorph Icon Polymorph on the enemy healer. If they manage to get behind a pillar, you can Shimmer Icon Shimmer to their location and still get your Polymorph off. You can use your Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova and other roots to slow down the enemy team. Your main damage spell, Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt also applies a slow to enemies, same with Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold and Blizzard Icon Blizzard.

2.

Offensive Rotation

2.1.

Shatter Combinations

Before going into the damage rotation, understanding how to maximize your "Shatters" and generating big Icicles is a key part of playing a Frost Mage.

A crucial part of Frost Mage damage is dealing damage to targets that are Frozen. This is because of your passive, Shatter Icon Shatter, which makes it so your Frost spells will critically strike versus frozen targets. Aside from Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost, you have three abilities that can freeze a target: Freeze Icon Freeze, Ice Nova Icon Ice Nova, and Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova. Additionally, Flurry Icon Flurry can apply Winter's Chill Icon Winter's Chill. Below are a few examples of how to use your Shatter passive to maximize your Icicle damage.

  1. Using Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova. Frost Nova is an easy way to secure early shatters on enemies.
  2. Using Freeze Icon Freeze. If you are not playing the Lonely Winter Icon Lonely Winter regular talent, you will have access to your Water Elemental. This will also give you the ability to use your pet's Freeze ability.
    • Start casting Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt. Right when the cast is about to end, you want to use Freeze Icon Freeze on the enemy you are casting Frostbolt on.
  3. Using Ice Nova Icon Ice Nova. If you are using the Ice Nova regular talent, the technique is similar to what you would do with your Water Elemental's Freeze ability.
    • Start casting Frostbolt Icon Frostbolt. Right when the cast ends, use Ice Nova Icon Ice Nova on the enemy you are casting Frostbolt on.
  4. Using Winter's Chill Icon Winter's Chill. Winter's Chill gets placed on a target after you use an instant Flurry with a Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze proc. This makes it so your target takes damage as if they were Frozen, even if they are not Frozen.
2.2.

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. With the amount of crowd control and damage that Mages have, you can force cooldowns (trinkets and defensives) without having to use any cooldowns.

  1. Start the arena by using Invisibility Icon Invisibility.
  2. Use Arcane Explosion Icon Arcane Explosion to try to get an enemy out of stealth if they still have not opened after your Invisibility has expired.
  3. Cast Polymorph Icon Polymorph on the enemy healer (if you are focusing the enemy healer, Polymorph a DPS that can heal/peel for the healer).
  4. When you have Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost procs, use your burst rotation (see below).
2.3.

Burst Damage

When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you should use your burst damage.

  • Generate as many Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost procs and Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze procs possible by casting Frostbolt Icon Frostbolts on your target.
  • Use Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury (if you are an Orc).
  • Use Icy Veins Icon Icy Veins. The unique thing about Frost Mages is that you do not need Icy Veins to be able to do your Burst Rotation. All Frost needs is crowd control on the enemy healer, and you will be able to do the rotation below.
  • Use Frozen Orb Icon Frozen Orb.
  • Use Comet Storm Icon Comet Storm if the target is stunned or cannot move.
  • Use Ice Nova Icon Ice Nova.
  • Use Ice Lance Icon Ice Lance if you have Fingers of Frost Icon Fingers of Frost until you run out.
  • Use Flurry Icon Flurry if you have Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze.
  • Use Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost if the enemy team is trying to kite from your damage behind a pillar.
  • Use Blizzard Icon Blizzard if the enemy team is completely behind the pillar. Every time Blizzard deals damage, it reduces the cooldown of Frozen Orb.
  • Use Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast if you get locked out on Frost and want to deal instant damage.
2.4.

Sustained damage

Sustained damage is damage you do when your burst cooldowns are not available. When they are on cooldown, you want to be doing a combination of crowd control and kiting. There will often be a lot of downtime during matches where you are using your CC like Polymorph Icon Polymorph and slows to stop the enemy team.

  • Use Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold, Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova, and Polymorph Icon Polymorph to control the enemy team.
  • Use Ray of Frost Icon Ray of Frost if an enemy overextends or is trying to kite your team's damage.
  • If you are using Ebonbolt Icon Ebonbolt, use it to generate a Brain Freeze Icon Brain Freeze proc.
  • Use Blizzard Icon Blizzard if the enemy team is completely behind the pillar. Every time Blizzard deals damage, it reduces the cooldown of Frozen Orb.
  • Use Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast if you get locked out on Frost and want to deal instant damage.
    • Something to note is that Fire Blast can be used to "Totem Stomp". What this means is that you can use it to kill Shaman totems that are placed down. For example, if you see a Skyfury Totem Icon Skyfury Totem, you can instantly kill it with Fire Blast.
2.5.

Defensive Techniques

Ice Block Icon Ice Block is your main defensive ability. If you have run out of Shimmer Icon Shimmers and have no other ways to kite or survive, use this spell. This will protect you from all damage.

Alter Time Icon Alter Time may seem like a confusing ability at first, but it is really straight forward. The first time you press this ability, it remembers how much health you have and your location. The second time you press it, it will return to the same location with the exact health you had when you first pressed it. This should be used when you feel like you are about to take damage or about to be stunned.

Although Mirror Image Icon Mirror Image deals damage and slows enemies, it should primarily be used a defensive cooldown. While the images active, you take 20% less damage. Taking direct damage will break 1 of the 3 mirrors. If the images stay alive for the entire duration, you will get this damage reduction for 40 seconds! Use this when you do not have Alter Time and you see the enemy using their burst cooldowns.

A Mage's crowd control is effectively a defensive technique for them. If the enemy team is using their offensive cooldowns, you can kite them by using Cone of Cold Icon Cone of Cold or by casting Polymorph Icon Polymorph and Shimmer Icon Shimmering away. Moreover, you can use Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova to root the target, which is very effective when playing against melee. Do not forget to use Shimmer Icon Shimmer as well to kite away from enemies and LoS.

Cold Snap Icon Cold Snap is a very important defensive ability. It resets the cooldown on several Frost Mage abilities, the most important one to note being Ice Block Icon Ice Block. This means the enemy team will have to go through two of your Ice Blocks to kill you, which makes you very hard to kill.

Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier is best used when the enemy team is focusing you down. If you use it preemptively, it runs the risk of being dispelled by an enemy (such as a Shaman or Priest), or of being the target of Spellsteal Icon Spellsteal.

3.

Macros

It is advised to use Macros to use abilities on enemies or allies without having to target them. For this reason, we have a page dedicated to them.

4.

Changelog

  • 04 Jul. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1 of Shadowlands.
  • 19 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for Patch 9.0.5.
  • 23 Dec. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 14 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch.
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